Korean ᄅ r/l pronunciation?

So just a quick update on Korean phonology, the ᄅ pronunciation! At first I assumed that this letter would be pronounced the same way every time – by rolling the tongue, and it is! The same as a Japanese r/l, ᄅ is pronounced by rolling the tongue and it sounds closer to an r than an l however, I have found that a lot of the time it is pronounced closer to an l than an r.

Mostly when ᄅ is at the end of a word such as ‘reul’/’ 를’. Here it is at the beginning and end, the beginning ᄅ is pronounced closer to an r sound but the second ᄅ is pronounced closer to an l sound.

Lots of times the ᄅ will be in the middle of a word and it will be pronounced closer to an l sound such as ‘molla’/’몰라’.

To make this ‘inbetween-not-a-tongue-rolling-r-but-not-a-full-on-l’ sound move the tip of your tongue back as if you were about to roll it to make the ‘flicky-rolling-tongue-r’ sound but don’t flick it, keep it there. Now try to say an l sound like ‘elllll’ or ‘ullll’. Try saying ‘molla’! Or ‘hullllll’!

You’ll see in a lot of kdramas that the placeent/shape of the mouth when Koreans pronounce the l sound is different to a westerners.

Sometimes its hard to distinguish but the placement of the tongue can make l sounds very different! Practice if its not easy for you, you’ll get the hang of it! BOOM! (:

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One Comment on “Korean ᄅ r/l pronunciation?”

  1. […] Korean has a post about pronunciation advice.  As does Mynihongo. Video How to pronounce ㄹ. italki pun about […]


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