Why ㄱ, ㄷ, and ㅂ Sound Like ㄲ, ㄸ, and ㅃ

Why ㄱ, ㄷ, and ㅂ Sound Like ㄲ, ㄸ, and ㅃ


 

Have you been wondering why ㄱ [g/k], ㄷ [d/t], and ㅂ [b/p] sometimes sound like ㄲ [gg/kk], ㄸ [dd/tt], and ㅃ [bb/pp]? In this post, we’ll learn a shortcut tip that Korean learning materials usually don’t cover.

In general, if two consonants occur together within a word, the second consonant tends to be pronounced with more stress. We can see this phenomenon in ㄱ [g/k], ㄷ [d/t], and ㅂ [b/p]. When ㄱ [g/k], ㄷ [d/t], and ㅂ [b/p] are preceded by ㄱ [g/k], ㄷ [d/t], or ㅂ [b/p], the second consonants are intensified and pronounced ㄲ [gg/kk], ㄸ [dd/tt], ㅃ [bb/pp] respectively. We can call this change a tensed pronunciation, or reinforcement.

I’ve found that some advanced Korean learners happen to acquire it naturally, without effort. Sadly, we won’t have enough time to spend studying Korean. Try speaking the phrases below aloud and get used to speaking fast. The more familiar you become with it, the more dramatically your listening skills develop.

 

1. ㄱ + ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ → ㄱ + ㄲ, ㄸ, ㅃ

WordsPronunciationMeaning
학교[학꾜] [hakggyo]school
식당[식땅] [sikddang]restaurant
한국분[항국뿐] [hanggukbbun]Korean person (honorific)
국밥[국빱] [gukbbap]hot soup with rice

 

2. ㄷ + ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ → ㄷ + ㄲ, ㄸ, ㅃ

WordsPronunciationMeaning
닫기[닫끼] [datggi]closing
받다[받따] [batdda]to receive
닫다[닫따] [datdda]to shut
믿다[믿따] [mitdda]to trust
돋보기[돋뽀기] [dotbbogi]reading glasses, magnifying glass

 

3. ㅂ + ㄱ, ㄷ, ㅂ → ㅂ + ㄲ, ㄸ, ㅃ

WordsPronunciationMeaning
입구[입꾸] [ipggu]entrance
입다[입따] [ipdda]to wear
법대[법때] [beopdde]law school
컵밥[컵빱] [keopbbap]cupbap (rice in a cup - Korean street food)

 

Reference:

  1. Lee, Iksop, and S. Robert Ramsey. The Korean Language. 1st ed., State University Of New York Press, 2001.
  2. Jaehoon Yeon, Lucien Brown. Korean: A Comprehensive Grammar (Routledge Comprehensive Grammars). 1st ed. Routledge; 2011.
  3. Danielle Ooyoung Pyun. Colloquial Korean: The Complete Course For Beginners. Routledge; 2009.