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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Korean language pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. It is based on the standard dialect of South Korea.

See Korean phonology for a more thorough look at the sounds of Korean.

Korean consonants
IPA Hangul RR English approximation
b[1] b ball
d[2] d doll
[3] j roughly like gee, Japanese ji
ɡ[4] g gall, Spanish amigo
h h hall
j [ㅛ, ㅠ,ㅑ,ㅕ,
ㅖ, ㅒ][5]
y you
k ㄱ, [ㅋ][6] g, k kid
kk skin
ㅋ, [ㅎㄱ] k cup
l ㄹ, [ㄴ][7] l lip
m ㅁ, ㅂ[8] m mall
[ㄹ, ㄷ, ㅅ, ㅈ][9]
n not
ŋ ㅇ, [ㄱ][10] ng king
p ㅂ, [ㅍ][11] b, p paint
pp spit
ㅍ, [ㅎㅂ] p paint
ɾ r like Scottish r or American ladder
s s like see, but aspirated, with more breath
ss see
ɕ[12] s roughly like she, Mandarin xi
ɕ͈[13] ss see
[ㅌ, ㅅ, ㅈ, ㅊ][14]
tt stall
ㅌ, [ㅎㄷ] t tall
j roughly like cheek, Japanese chi
tɕ͈ jj roughly like picture, Mandarin ji
tɕʰ ㅊ, [ㅎㅈ] ch roughly like cheek, Mandarin qi
w [ㅜ, ㅗ][15] w wall
Korean vowels and diphthongs
IPA Hangul RR English approximation
a a bot, box
e e set, Spanish queso
says, Brazilian Portuguese peixes
ɛ ae bet, Italian bella
ɛː rays, French fête
i i mean
o o core
ø oe weld
u u moon
ʌ eo mud, yawn
əː pearl (RP), with spread lips
ɯ eu somewhat like book; moon but without rounded lips , Mandarin si
ɰi ui like wee but with spread lips, French huit but with spread lips


  1. ^ Allophone of /p/ between voiced sounds.
  2. ^ Allophone of /t/ between voiced sounds.
  3. ^ Allophone of /tɕ/ between voiced sounds.
  4. ^ Allophone of /k/ between voiced sounds.
  5. ^ Spelled by doubling the short line on the vowel.
  6. ^ ㅋ is [k] at the end of a syllable.
  7. ^ ㄹ is [l] at the end of a syllable. ㄹㄴ and ㄴㄹ may be [l:].
  8. ^ ㅂ is [m] before [n] or [m].
  9. ^ ㄹ may be [n] at the start of a word. ㄷ, ㅅ, ㅈ are [n] before [n] or [m].
  10. ^ ㅇ is [ŋ] at the end of a syllable. ㄱ is [ŋ] before [n], [m], or [ɾ].
  11. ^ ㅍ is [p] at the end of a syllable.
  12. ^ Allophone of /s/ before /i/ and /j/.
  13. ^ Allophone of /s͈/ before /i/ and /j/.
  14. ^ All are [t] and RR t at the end of a syllable.
  15. ^ Spelled ㅜ before [ʌ], [e], [i]; ㅗ before [ɛ], [a]; ㅚ [ø] can also be pronounced [we]


  • Lee, Hyun-bok (1999). "An IPA Illustration of Korean". Handbook of the International Phonetic Association. 
  • Lee, Hyun-bok (2002). 음성의 연구와 음성의 표기법 [Phonetic Notation in Phonetic Research] (PDF). INTERSPEECH-2002. 
  • Lee, Hyun-bok (2004). In search of a universal phonetic alphabet – theory and application of an organic visible speech (PDF). INTERSPEECH-2004. 
  • Sohn, Ho-min (2001). The Korean Language. Cambridge language surveys. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521369436. 

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