Korean pronunciation – American vs English?Posted: July 29, 2013
Okay, as I’m currently focusing on my Korean at the moment, I thought I’d help some people out by bringing to light the problem with learning pronunciation online. Of course learning how to pronounce certain sounds is going to be easier if you have someone to practice with in person but for a lot of us learning is done through books and online sources. If you’ve found a site that includes audio files so you can hear the pronunciation then you may as well skip this post, but I’m just going to assume that anyone reading it either;
1.) Cannot open the audio files
2.) Doesn’t have a site that includes said files/is learning from a book or printed sheets
3.) Is deaf
So the issue I have with some online learning resources regarding pronunciation is the difference between American sounds and English sounds. In fact BRITISH sounds. There are Scottish, Irish and Welsh people as well y’know! And god there’s even the Australian accent and New Zealand all that jazz but to keep it simple I’m going to just use Standard American vs Standard English.
Firstly I’m going to give you an example. Say the word ‘saw’ in an American accent and then in an English accent (if you can). The ‘-aw’ is pronounced differently.
(The best e.g. I can give it is English – ‘soh‘ and American ‘sah‘).
Some online sites use the word ‘saw’ to represent how the letter ㅓ (Romanization: ‘eo’) should be pronounced, eo = aw.
A further example; the word ‘저’ (Romanization: ‘Jeo’ meaning ‘I’). An American person would probably say it correctly whereas if we used the standard English pronunciation of saw it wouldn’t be right (unless you’re from Yorkshire in which case a lot of people may say it correctly). 저 would be pronounced ‘jaw’ or ‘juh’. Which one you ask? Well it’s somewhere in the middle. Don’t worry guys I’m going to vid this up soon!
This is something I’ve come across and there isn’t really an easy way to fix it apart from actually stating on your site that you’re going to be going by American pronunciation/English pronunciation. Most sites will go by American pronunciation either because they are American or because they feel like most people will assume American pronunciation anyway. I haven’t come across one site yet that states which pronunciation they’re using probably because it’s only minor details that differ between English and American. It is however best to go by American pronunciation just because we all assume that’s the way it is anyway, but I’d like to see it stated on sites more that way people actually know for sure they’re saying it correctly. This isn’t solely Korean pronunciation either but the letter ㅓ is one which you MUST know in Korean but this pronunciation thing can be applied to any language, Japanese etc.
So that’s just something I’d like to get out there! The difference between American and English accents when looking up pronunciations in books or online without being able to hear an example. Please be careful about how you’re pronouncing something and as a general rule just go by American pronunciation. I’ll example this shiz on vid soon so over and out guys!