Hangeul 1 – Single Vowels

Korean Characters

Hangeul 1- 8 Single Vowels 

There are 40 characters in Korean, which are 21 vowels and 19 consonants.  The vowels can be divided to the single vowels and the double vowels.  There are 8 single vowels and 13 double vowels.

We are going to learn the single vowels in this page.

* Single vowels
You should not move your mouth or tongue while you are pronouncing single vowels. 

1) ㅏ  ‘a’ as in ‘father’, ‘spa’
[Click here to watch a video for ㅏ]

2) ㅓ ‘awe’ as in ‘awesome’ and ‘au’ as in ‘August’
[Click here to watch a video for ㅓ]

3) ㅗ ‘o’ as in ‘ghost’, ‘sofa’, however you shouldn’t move your mouth shape.
[Click here to watch a video for ㅗ]

4) ㅜ ‘oo’ as in ‘zoo’, ‘too’. You should make your lips as a round shape. 
[Click here to watch a video for ㅜ]

5) ㅡ There is no pronunciation in English that is similar to this, however you can think of an extremely freezing day, you can make this sound 🙂
[Click here to watch a video for ㅡ]

6) ㅣ’e’ as in ‘me’, ‘see’
[Click here to watch a video for ㅣ]

7-8) ㅔ/ㅐ ‘에’ is similar to ‘e’ as in ‘set, bed’ and ‘애’ is similar to ‘a’ as in ‘dad’, ‘bat’. But many Koreans don’t recognize the difference.
[Click here to watch a video for ㅔ and ㅐ]

[Grammar] Present tense 아요/어요/여요


In Korean, the infinitive form of verbs and adjectives is -다.  For instance, 가(to go), 좋(be good), 먹(to eat) and 마시(to drink).

When you say these verbs and adjective as a present tense, you should add the present tense verb/adjective ending -아요/어요/여요.

The form is depending on the last letter’s vowel on the stem. The stem is the last letter after you take off ‘다’.

The steps are

1) Take off ‘다’
2) Look at the last letter’s vowel on the stem
3) If the vowel is ‘ㅏ’or ‘ㅗ’, add 아요.  If the vowel is not ‘ㅏ’or ‘ㅗ’, add 어요. If the verb stem is 하, add 여요.

1. verb / adjective(the stem’s vowel is ‘ㅏ’ or ‘ㅗ’ ) + 아요
다 (‘가’ is the stem -> the vowel is ‘ㅏ’ ) + 아요 => 가아요 => 가요(combine 가and 아 )
다(‘오’ is the stem -> the vowel is ‘ㅗ’)  + 아요 => 오아요 => 와요(combine 오and 아 )
다(‘살’ is the stem ->the vowel is ‘ㅏ’)  + 아요 => 살아요

2. verb / adjective(the stem’s vowel is not ‘ㅏ’ or ‘ㅗ’ ) + 어요
다(‘주’ is the stem -> the vowel is ‘ㅜ’)  +어요  => 주어요      => 줘요(주+어=>줘 )
다 (‘시’ is the last letter -> the vowel is ‘ㅣ’ ) +어요  => 마시어요 => 마셔요(시+어=>셔)
다(‘먹’is the stem -> the vowel is ‘ㅓ’) +어요  => 먹어요

3. verb/adjecitve ends with ‘하다’ + 여요  => 하(take off 다) + 여요
공부다 -> 공부하(take off 다)+ 여요 => 공부하여요(‘하여’ =>해)  => 공부해요
피곤다 -> 피곤하(take off 다) + 여요 => 피곤하여요 => 피곤해요


가다 : to go
오다 : to come
살다 : to live
먹다 : to eat
마시다 : to drink
주다 : to give
공부하다 : to study
피곤하다 : be tired


만나다 (to meet)
좋다(be good)
보다(to see)
자다(to sleep)
웃다(to smile)
울다(to cry)
운동하다(to exercise)
수영하다(to swim)



Click here for more verbs/adjectives