Off topic: Advice/resource sought: actual pronunciation of Korean versus 'standard' pronunciation, and grammar
Thread poster: D. I. Verrelli

D. I. Verrelli  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 17:23
Member (2019)
German to English
+ ...
Dec 3, 2018

Hello, all.

While qualified as a translator in other languages, I am currently also studying Korean at a basic–intermediate level.

One of my difficulties is that the resources I currently have available for Korean are quite limited compared to the resources I had for other languages I have looked at (qualified in German & Indonesian; a little exposure to Italian, French, Russian, Latin, Spanish).

One thing that I would have appreciated would be a K
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Hello, all.

While qualified as a translator in other languages, I am currently also studying Korean at a basic–intermediate level.

One of my difficulties is that the resources I currently have available for Korean are quite limited compared to the resources I had for other languages I have looked at (qualified in German & Indonesian; a little exposure to Italian, French, Russian, Latin, Spanish).

One thing that I would have appreciated would be a Korean dictionary with a reliable pronunciation guide. Currently it is common that romanisation will be provided, and perhaps the authors and publishers think that constitutes a pronunciation guide, but it is not. A good pronunciation guide should show stress and vowel length, for example. My preference would be to use IPA. Does anyone know if such a resource is available? At my current level I could only use a bilingual dictionary, but feel free to comment on monolingual dictionaries too.

The best systematic guide to pronunciation and grammar that I have found so far is 'Korean Grammar' by Hansol H. B. Lee (S.N.U.), published by OUP in 1989. I like this a lot for its comprehensive coverage ranging from phonemes to words to sentences, its systematic layout, and use of IPA. Perhaps it doesn't quite cover 'everything', but most of all I am concerned it may possibly be somewhat out-of-date in some specific areas — which I am unable to detect or confirm.

I would very much appreciate advice on: (i) whether aspects of Lee's book are out-of-date, and (ii) any other equivalent/superior/newer books available.
[Note that I am not a fan of the grammar books by Martin or Kingdon.]

One of my difficulties is pronunciation, and there are two aspects I would like to ask about: vowel length, and elision.

VOWEL LENGTH: Lee's book talks about this, and it seems that vowel length at least used to be a feature of spoken Korean, but I find no guidance in newer resources, and my current teacher seems to make no distinction. For example, Lee distinguishes 벌 for punishment (short vowel) versus bee (long), and 밤 meaning night (short) versus chestnut (long). But my current teacher says that there is no difference in pronunciation.

I also am wondering whether there's a rule that shortens a vowel (especially ㅏ) if it is immediately followed by ㄲ (as in 아까, 'earlier'), because that's how it seems to my ears [possibly even with a soft glottal stop inserted], but again I've never found any formal description of this.

ELISION: Several sounds seem to be systematically elided in 'conversational' Korean, but I have not seen this described in any resource.
Example 1: 취 (hobby) sometimes sounds to me as though it is being pronounced 치. My current teacher agrees that when the word is not emphasised, as in everyday speech, the pronunciation changes, although she says even the de-emphasised form differs from 치. I can hear some sort of slight difference between de-emphasised 취 and ordinary 치 if they are spoken one after the other, but I'd like to know the rule, and what exactly to listen for — e.g. tone, length, sound, or stress.
Example 2: 봤어 (past tense of to [ever] try/experience) often sounds to me like 밨어. But a previous teacher denied that there was any elision.
Example 3: 강좌 (class?) sounded to me like 강자 — except when the teacher deliberately tried to (unnaturally?) emphasise the sounds it became more like "강주ㅏ" to my ears (in which the last two letters were a diphthong).

Many thanks in advance for explanations and advice,
David
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Youngju Oh
South Korea
Local time: 15:23
English to Korean
+ ...
type in https://dict.naver.com/ Jan 12, 2019

naver is biggest portal in korea.
and the link below is dictionary corner.
https://dict.naver.com/


 

D. I. Verrelli  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 17:23
Member (2019)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Helpful, although not quite what I sought Jan 14, 2019

Dear Youngju Oh,
thank-you for sharing the link to Naver. This has some of the information I was asking about.

As one example, I can use your link to do a search on "수"
https://dict.naver.com/search.nhn?dicQuery=수&x=25&y=19&query=수&target=dic&ie=utf8&query_utf=&isOnlyViewEE=

You
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Dear Youngju Oh,
thank-you for sharing the link to Naver. This has some of the information I was asking about.

As one example, I can use your link to do a search on "수"
https://dict.naver.com/search.nhn?dicQuery=수&x=25&y=19&query=수&target=dic&ie=utf8&query_utf=&isOnlyViewEE=

You will notice that it does not provide any IPA pronunciation guide for anything except the English word "sue" (which sounds somewhat like "수").

On the other hand, there is a guide to vowel length. The five entries under "국어사전 단어" show two with long vowels, denoted "[수ː]", and the other three without — so presumably short is the 'default' vowel length here. (There are more entries for "수" listed at https://ko.dict.naver.com/#/search?range=word&query=수 .) The differing vowel lengths are also extremely obvious from the sample recordings provided as pronunciation guides.
The differing vowel lengths mentioned in Lee's book for 벌 (punishment versus bee), and 밤 (night versus chestnut) are also reflected on Naver — although only in the Korean-definition section, not in the English-translation section!
On the face of it this seems to 'confirm' that vowel length is still respected in Korean as it is spoken today. However, I would still like to hear independent confirmation from native-speakers as to whether/when the different vowel lengths in 벌 and 밤 are respected. The context is that as a student with four different teachers in two institutions (albeit related), this has never been mentioned to me in class, it is not mentioned in several textbooks books (or I overlooked it), not mentioned in many Korean–English bilingual dictionaries, and when I have raised it with one teacher she has said that for her there is no difference in pronunciation!
Maybe vowel length is ignored in the younger generations, or in casual speech, but respected by older generations and in more formal circumstances (e.g. news reports)??


Regarding elision, I cannot come to a firm conclusion.

Example 1: 취미 (hobby).
When I search "취미" it is shown with a long first vowel for the meaning of hobby, and short for just a few compound entries (such as "이국취미"). I can hear the "w" sound in "취미" with a long first vowel ( https://ko.dict.naver.com/#/entry/koko/e9417b3a57fa4eb1a350ed1c86569b2d ) and a short first vowel.
But for "취" alone I can only hear the "w" sound in the short vowel, not in the long vowel ( https://ko.dict.naver.com/#/entry/koko/7f3b47cf886a47049a0494ebe6cb2b80 ), which is denoted [취ː] but sounds to me like [치ː].
It turns out that "치" as a word by itself may always be pronounced with a short vowel in Korean. Maybe that is why there is no confusion of [치] representing "치" with [치ː] representing "취" (with elision)??
Of course, it could be more objective with IPA pronunciation guides, rather than relying on Korean 'respelling' with added vowel-length markers.

Example 2: 봤어 (tried/experienced/saw).
I cannot see any guide to pronunciation of this on Naver.

Example 3: 강좌 (class).
This also sounds to me like "강주ㅏ" on Naver, but that could just be my faulty knowledge of the usual pronunciation of the final vowel. However, there's no information about 'casual' conversational pronunciation.


One obvious point to make is that Naver is a website, not a book on grammar.
Among other things, this means that I can only guess some things and try to deduce my own patterns by looking at Naver, whereas a well-written book will simply present the patterns (rules & exceptions) for you to take in. Thus, for example, my query regarding words such as "아까" cannot be resolved simply by looking up the entry for "아까"!
Maybe there are some pages on Naver explaining grammar, but I should mention again that my level of Korean knowledge is definitely not yet high enough to be able to understand explanations of grammar that are written exclusively in Korean.

There also seem to be no obvious indications on Naver of altered pronunciation in casual conversation.

—DIV

[Edited at 2019-01-15 11:44 GMT]
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Advice/resource sought: actual pronunciation of Korean versus 'standard' pronunciation, and grammar

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