~Quizzes and Trivia~
Challenge yourself! Think you know everything you need to know in order to survive in Citlalli's Seoul? Try this difficult Goodreads Quiz.
Or maybe you're more of a Dante buff? Try out this medium Tribe of Ishmael Quiz.
Want to write your name in Korean? Learn the Hangeul Characters!
Image courtesy of The Polyglot Experience.
"NO, no, no," you say. "I don't have time to learn a whole new alphabet." Luckily for you, Hangeul has only twenty-four consonants and vowels. The characters are grouped together in blocks, and each block is one syllable.
For example, let's say you wanted to write Hanguk, which means, Korea. There are two syllables: Han and guk, which means we will be writing two blocks. Let's consult the alphabet to write the first block, Han. The consonant H is ㅎ, the vowel a is ㅏ, and the consonant n is ㄴ. Put them together, going from top left to right, and then bottom left to right:
The second syllable, guk, requires the same process. Find the consonantㄱ for g, the vowel ㅜ for u, and the consonant ㄱ for k. "Wait, what?" you ask. "The character ㄱ is used for both the g and k sound?" It sure is, although when speaking, you notice a native speaker's slight variation between the two. The pattern follows for other pairs, too, like b/p (both represented by ㅂ) and r/l (ㄹ). For all you phonetics people out there, you might recognize the only difference between pairs like b and p is if they are voiced (b) or unvoiced (p). But enough with the lessons! Here is second syllable, guk:
Notice how the ㄱ sits right on top of the ㅜ. You can think of the vowel characters ㅜ, ㅠ, and ㅡ as tables: all the consonants sit on top or below them. Group the o and yo sounds in the table-top group as well (ㅗ and ㅛ respectively). Just think of them as upside-down tables that the consonants will go above and below.
Put the word together, and you've spelled Korea, Hanguk:
Ready to try your name? "Heather" is a good one to start with, because it will address potential problems. First, how many blocks will I write? Well, my name has two syllables, Hea and ther. The first block is easy to write. I find the characters for H and the ea sound, ㅎ and ㅔ(sounds like "eh?":
However, the second block presents problems, because Koreans don't have a ther sound in their language. Words like "the" and "they" present a problem, because of the absence of the th sound. "Third" is probably the evilest word. A th and an er sound? Neither exist. F and v are other problem areas. F usually gets approximate to a p sound, and v, a b sound.
So how would the ther in Heather be written? The th is approximated to a ㄷ (d) and the er is approximated to the ㅓ vowel (Romanized as eo, close to an "uh" sound, like "uh...I don't get it!") So together, ther is written as:
My name: 헤더
You're itching to see how your name will turn out, but one last quick lesson: for people whose names start with vowel sounds, like Anna or Yuki, then here's the rule: In the absence of a consonant preceding a vowel, the character ㅇ is put before it instead.
This only scratches the surface! Want to learn more? Check out these great online Korean sources:
1. Fun jingle: Learn Korean Alphabet: Hangul Rap. By GenkiJapanNet.
2. In-depth: Fast Korean Alphabet: How to Learn Hangeul Rapidly 1. By Koreancrashcourse.
(Yes, cartoons. Cartoons are fun.)
3. Live Mocha
Take online language courses for free. Great for beginners.