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Lecture 11: Korean and English Letters may not Equate as Expected
e all know that the Korean letter is roughly the same as the English letter b. And that is about the same as the letter d. However, most new Korean college students believe that the Korean letter and the English letter a are equal, and this is not true. First, we have already learned that the unstressed letter a is usually a schwa. Second, a stressed a not marked as long by a following e (as in made or take) or an accompanying i (as in mail or paid) is usually , as in cat, back, and after. The letter a sounding like the Korean , as in father, is much less common. What is the Korean letter that equals the stressed English letter o? Followed immediately by a written consonant and not followed by a final e, the English o is most often . The English word top is pronounced as if it were written We also have hot, bottle, rock, and profit.
Let's look at the purpose of the final e in English. How do you pronounce cut? How about cute? How do you pronounce kit? How about kite? The e is silent, but it has a function. It changes the pronunciation of the vowel in front of it. So we have hat-hate, pet-Pete, kit-kite, not-note, and cut-cute. The rule about the final e is that it makes the vowel preceeding it long. Or we can say it causes the vowel to be pronounced like the name of the vowel, a, e, i, o, or u.
There are other spellings that can indicate a vowel should be pronounced a special way. We said that the stressed English o is usually /a/, unless it has a final e or is marked as /o/ some other way, so hop is /hap/ and hope is /hop/. For /o/ we also have coat, bowl, and soul. That is, if we want the /o/ sound in English, we usually have to add another letter to modifyo.