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Learning Korean Alphabet
Learning Korean Alphabet

Education

Learning Korean Alphabet: Know These Konglish and Korean Language Loan Words!

Learning Korean alphabet fast—this is the dream of many language learners.

If you’re one of them, then you need to master the Romanized Hangul letters. This is the only legitimate writing system in South Korea (and in North Korea, too). It’s very easy to practice writing this scientific alphabet since it uses horizontal or vertical lines.

There are 24 Korean alphabet letters in total, including 14 Hangul consonants and 10 Hangul vowels. These help form syllable blocks.

If you find it hard to master the Korean Hangul consonants and vowels, there’s an easier way to do so. You can study foreign words, particularly Konglish.

Konglish: The Korean Words You Should Study

Hangul basic vowels help create the three common Korean words: pure Korean, Sino-Korean (derived from Chinese characters,) and Konglish.

For new Korean learners, Konglish (콩글리시) is a literal depiction of what it means: a variation of the typical English word. You’ll often hear it in Korean dramas, even K-pop music.

When used by native Korean speakers, it’s spoken differently from the usual and correct pronunciation. In some cases, they don’t even follow the traditional English translation.

Since Konglish makes it easy to learn the Korean alphabet Hangul, it’s a must to dabble with it. They can help you master various Korean sounds in no time.

How to Speak Korean-English Loan Words

As with most countries, the Korean writing system borrows several words from English letters.

  • Reportseu (레포츠)

These basic letters merge to represent two words: leisure and sports. But in Korean texts, reportseu means a luxurious kind of sport. Examples include golfing, paragliding, canoeing, etc.

  • Lijotel (리조텔)

This term corresponds to two familiar words: resort and hotel. Unlike other words, this Korean script speaks for itself. Speakers use it to describe resorts or hotels.

  • Konsenteu (콘센트)

콘센트 are Korean letters that translate to the word ‘consent’ in English. Its Korean meaning is a little different, though, as konsenteu refers to a socket or outlet.

  • Maseukom (매스컴)

Maseukom, written in Korean syllable blocks as 매스컴, is a shortcut for the word ‘mass communication.’ However, it can also refer to ‘mass media.’

  • Aishopping (아이쇼핑)

When you read Korean word examples such as aishopping, you’ll get its meaning quickly. It’s ‘eye shopping,’ which for locals is the same word as ‘window shopping.’

  • Hochikiseu (호치키스)

The Korean language doesn’t only adapt to ordinary English words; it follows brand names as well. The best example of this is hochikiseu.

When you hear this word in your free lessons, it only means one thing: stapler. Koreans have adapted this from the stapler company EH Hotchkiss.

  • Areubaiteu (아르바이트)

Areubaiteu translates to job or work in English. But when writing Korean, this word pertains to a part-time job.

Fun fact: unlike most Korean characters in this list, areubaiteu comes from the German word ‘arbeit’ and its Japanese derivative ‘arubaito.’

  • Noteubuk (노트북)

This Korean pronunciation is more or less a giveaway. It points to the word ‘notebook,’ which in Korean means ‘laptop.’

  • Selka (셀카)

This word is perhaps one of the newest Konglish words, thanks to international and Korean culture advances.

Selka, a combination of ‘selfie’ and ‘camera,’ translates to the former. But when written with Hangul, the Korean alphabet, it means ‘to take a picture of yourself.’

Learn Korean Alphabet Faster With These Loan Words

Konglish is not the only foreign word used in the Korean alphabet. Some English wordings are adopted outright. You can mention them in your video lessons and your Korean skills teacher will understand what you mean!

Here are several examples:

  • sauna (사우나) – sauna
  • kamera (카메라) – camera
  • chokolet (초콜릿) – chocolate
  • radio (라디오) – radio
  • geim (게임) – game
  • nektai (넥타이) – necktie
  • noteu (노트) – note
  • menyu (메뉴) – menu
  • syopingbaek (쇼핑백) – shopping bag
  • syaweo (샤워) – shower
  • bidio (비디오) – video

There are also some words with some tweaks in their Korean syllables:

  • tokeusyo (토크쇼) – talk show
  • aiseukeurim (아이스크림) – ice cream
  • kiseu (키스) – kiss
  • orenji (오렌지) – orange
  • juseu (주스) – juice
  • keikeu (케이크) – cake
  • nyuseu (뉴스) – news
  • dalleo (달러) – dollar
  • kadeu (카드) – card
  • beoseu (버스) – bus
  • seuteureseu (스트레스) – stress
  • seupocheu (스포츠) – sports

English & Korean: Learning Common Adaptations

Yes, the English language has adopted many Korean symbols as well. Famous examples include:

Taegwondo (태권도)

This Olympic Korean martial art, known to many as taekwondo, features kick moves above the waist.

Bibimbap (비빔밥)

Of all the Korean letters, this is probably one of the most famous. Who can resist this mixed rice recipe, with all its vegan (and sometimes meaty) goodness?

Meokbang (먹방)

It is a type of online broadcast where the host eats lots and lots of food.

Jaebeol (재벌)

Chaebol, which is known to several writing systems, refers to a business conglomerate. If you watch K-drama, you’ll learn hangul words such as chaebol/jaebol there.

Perfecting Korean Letter Sounds with Konglish

If you find it hard to speak or write Korean consonants and Korean vowels, then mastering your Konglish is the way to go. It can help you polish your vowel and consonant sounds for a more flawless pronunciation.

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