(PLEASE NOTE: I am not a native Korean speaker and I taught myself Hangeul so I’m not an expert.)
As a Kpop fan I come into contact with a lot of Hangeul, which is the term for the Korean written language. Maybe you think it’s too hard because like me, you speak English which has totally different letters than Hangeul. Don’t worry, I found it’s not actually that difficult, Hangeul is probably the easiest East Asian character system to learn. The letters are formed in a very simple and straightforward way. Most Korean children learn them before they even start school. Hangeul is presented in syllable blocks. For example we would write ONE with the letters next to each other but in Hangeul it’s written 일, as a syllable block, combining the letters 이 and ᄅ. Once you learn the individual letters, you will be able to read the syllable blocks. When I first started teaching myself Hangeul I thought that the syllable blocks were letters, similar to Chinese, and that I had to learn each syllable block, lucky for us, this is not the case.
Two things I want to point out quickly before I show you the letters.
1. Syllables must follow one of two patterns:
- Consonant – Vowel
- Consonant – Vowel – Consonant
2. The size and location of the characters can vary depending on which of the patterns is being used.
Below are tables that I’ve created myself, feel free to save them to your computer and print them out to study. I have them stuck on my wall.
Okay, so now you know the letters and their approximate equivalents, so I’ll show you how they’re pronounced.
Now for the vowels. You’ll see that I have Japanese letters in some of the explanations. Unless you know Japanese, don’t worry about these. I originally made these tables to help myself learn Hangeul, and I know some Japanese, so that’s why it’s there.
Like I said before, I’m no expert, but I hope this helps you get started. With these tables you should be able to read Hangeul well enough to find videos from your favorite Kpop artists on youtube.
For writing Hangeul I use the site: http://www.lexilogos.com/keyboard/korean.htm