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Most Common Korean Words Pronounced Wrong Part. 3

This is Part. 3  of the series Most Common Korean Words Pronounced Wrong (read Part. 1 (words 1-1000) and Part. 2 (words 1001-1500).

Pronouncing Korean can be difficult given the many exceptions to basic pronunciation rules. In many cases, words seemingly simple have a different pronunciation from their 한글 spelling. Below are listed the most common words that have a different pronunciation from their spelling. These common words were selected among words 1501-2000 from the book A Frequency Dictionary of Korean. This list will be updated with relevant pronunciation guides on KoniKorean when available.

Notes about the table:

  • Rank corresponds to the rank in A Frequency Dictionary of Koreanfrom most common in the Korean language to least common.
  • Pronunciation was extracted from the Naver Dictionary of Korean.
  • Words with especially tricky pronunciation are in yellow rows.
  • Meaning is presented for quick reference; many words have different meanings depending on context.
  • The colon : indicates that the preceding syllable is a long one.
Rank Word Pronunciation Meaning Notes
← Cf. Part 2 for words 1001-1500
1510 거짓말 거:진말 a lie ⚠️Common mistake for beginners.
1523 결정하다 결쩡하다 to decide Cf. #1290 of Pt. 2.
1529 관계자 관계자/관게자 persons concerned  
1541 갈등 갈뜽 a conflict  
1543 특징 특찡 a characteristic  
1561 총리 총니 prime minister  
1593 업무 엄무 work, business  
1597 연극 연:극 play (theater) ⚠️ Not pronounced [영극 (X)], the ㄴ sound
needs to be pronounced separately from 극.
1605 건강 건:강 health Same as #1597.
1617 종류 종:뉴 kind, sort  
1618 chicken Consequently, 닭고기 is pronounced [닥꼬기].
1624 제공하다 제공하다 to provide ⚠️ Not pronounced [제꽁하다 (X)].
1628 대중 대:중 the public ⚠️ Not pronounced .
1650 손가락 손까락 finger ⚠️ Common mistake by foreign learners.
1661 관련하다 괄련하다 to be related to Cf. #831 of Pt. 1
1685 독립 동닙 independence  
1710 논리 놀리 logic  
1735 신라 실라 One of the Ancient
Kingdoms of Korea
Also the name of a Chaebol
(신라백화점, 신라호텔, etc.)
1742 이튿날 이튼날 the next day ⚠️ "two days" is written 이틀.
1749 밟다 밥:따 to step on  
See the rest of the table

Most Common Korean Words Pronounced Wrong Part. 2

This is Part. 2  of the series Most Common Korean Words Pronounced Wrong.

Pronouncing Korean can be difficult given the many exceptions to basic pronunciation rules. In many cases, words seemingly simple have a different pronunciation from their 한글 spelling. Below are listed the most common words that have a different pronunciation from their spelling. These common words were selected among words 1001-1500 from the book A Frequency Dictionary of Korean. This list will be updated with relevant pronunciation guides on KoniKorean when available.

Notes about the table:

  • Rank corresponds to the rank in A Frequency Dictionary of Koreanfrom most common in the Korean language to least common.
  • Pronunciation was extracted from the Naver Dictionary of Korean.
  • Words with especially tricky pronunciation are in yellow rows.
  • Meaning is presented for quick reference; many words have different meanings depending on context.
  • The colon : indicates that the preceding syllable is a long one.
Rank Word Pronunciation Meaning Notes
← Cf. Part 1 for words 1-1000
1005 외국 웨:국/외:국 foreign country  
1006 효과 효:과/효:꽈 effect* While two pronunciations are technically correct,
효:꽈 is much more common.
1053 며칠 며칠* a few days Different from 몇일 which is pronounced [멷일]
1086 조건 조껀 a condition ⚠️ Common mistake when first encountering this word.
Koreans will not understand the pronunciation [조건].
1112 관리 괄리 management  
1120 너희 너히 you (plural)  
1130 늙다 늑따 to get old Conjugation: 늙어요 [늘거요]
1141 언론 얼론 the press/media  
1177 평가 평:까 evaluation ⚠️ Very common mistake.
Koreans will not understand the pronunciation [평가].
1201 light  
See the rest of the table

Most Common Korean Words Pronounced Wrong Part. 1

Pronouncing Korean can be difficult given the many exceptions to basic pronunciation rules. In many cases, words seemingly simple have a different pronunciation from their 한글 spelling. Below are listed the most common words that have a different pronunciation from their spelling. These common words were selected among the first 1000 words from the book A Frequency Dictionary of Korean. This list will be updated with relevant pronunciation guides on KoniKorean when available.

Notes about the table:

  • Rank corresponds to the rank in A Frequency Dictionary of Koreanfrom most common in the Korean language to least common.
  • Pronunciation was extracted from the Naver Dictionary of Korean.
  • Words with especially tricky pronunciation are in yellow rows.
  • Meaning is presented for quick reference; many words have different meanings depending on context.
  • The colon : indicates that the preceding syllable is a long one.
Rank Word Pronunciation Meaning  
36 없다 업:따 to not be  
39 않다 안타 to not have  
58 그렇다 그러타 to be like that  
96 좋다 조:타 to be good  
131 많다 만:타 to be many  
132 갖다 갇따 to have  
143 놓다 노타 to put  
209 앉다 안따 to sit  
239 찾다 찯따 to find  
283 짓다 짇:따 to build  
295 묻다 묻:따 to ask  
375 맞다 맏따 to be right  
376 옛날 옌:날 (in) the past  
384 대통령 대:통녕 president  
398 북한 부칸 North Korea  
421 국민 궁민 the citizens  
See the rest of the table

Pattern V-고 싶다 To want to V, Would Like to V

Verb (V)-고 싶다, conjugated as V-고 싶어(요), means "to want to V" and is a common pattern in Korean as it is in English. Replace V in V-고 싶다 with an action (processive) verb by taking its dictionary form and replacing '' with ''. 

The pattern V-고 싶다:

  • can only be used with action (processive) verbs, such as 가다, 먹다, or 자다; it cannot be used with adjectives (descriptive verbs) such as 춥다, 필요하다, or 예쁘다
  • can only be used when the subject is yourself, or when you are directly asking a question to somebody else; for any other case, use V-고 싶어하다.
  • cannot be used with Noun (N)-이다; use N이/가 되다 instead ("I want to become N").
  • can be combined with past and future markers. These markers go after 싶다 and not after V; for example, "하고 싶었어요" (O) & "하고 싶을거예요" (O), and not "했고 싶어요" (X) & "할고 싶어요" (X) or "했고 싶었어요" (X) & "할고 싶을거예요" (X). Like in English, using the pattern V-고 싶다 in the future tense is not common (e.g., "I will want to see you; 내가 널 보고 싶을거야").
  • cannot be used with 못 (as in 못하다 cannot do).

When using honorifics with V-고 싶다:

  • place the honorific marker -- in the conjugation of 싶다: V-고 싶으세요/V-고 싶어하세요.
  • if V is a verb with an honorific equivalent, use the honorific form instead. E.g., 드시고 싶어하세요 (O) instead of 먹고 싶어하세요 (X).

Examples

나는 이 책을 갖고 싶어.
I want to have this book (반말).
저는 이 책을 갖고 싶어요.
I want to have this book (semi-polite)
이 음반을 듣고 싶었는데 잃어버렸어(요).
I wanted to listen to this album but I lost it.
Note that the verb 듣다 "to listen" conjugates to 들어(요); however, as mentioned above, this pattern uses the dictionary form 듣다 and replaces '다' for '고', resulting in '듣고' (O) and not '들고' (X).
준형이 육회를 먹고싶어(요)?
Junhyeong, do you want to eat yukhoe?

List of Korean Honorific Verbs

The Korean language has a finite list of verbs and nouns that are used to refer to older or revered/esteemed people. These verbs and nouns are qualified as honorific, and must absolutely be used when talking to strangers and older people you know. The honorific verbs to be used when you speak to/talk about somebody esteemed are listed below. Do not use them to talk about your own actions/status. Make sure to check out the appropriate honorific nouns to use conjointly with these verbs (list forthcoming).

Non-honorific Honorific Translation
데리다 모시다 to accompany
만나다/보다 뵙다 to meet/to see
말하다 말씀드리다/말씀하시다* to speak
마시다 드시다** to drink
먹다 잡수시다/드시다** to eat
묻다 여쭈다/여쭙다 to ask

See the full table and examples

Public Transportation in Korea (Vocabulary)

Public transportation is omnipresent in Korea and is faster than driving in most cases. This post gives you an overview of public transportation-related vocabulary that you may encounter and use in South Korea.

대중교통 (大衆交通) public transportation

교통수단 (交通手段)

transportation means

노선도 (路線圖)

route map

목적지 (目的地)

one’s destination

실시간 (實時間)

real time

2[이]번 출구 (出口)

exit number 2

교통카드 (交通카드)

transportation card

기차 (汽車)

열차 (列車)

train

See more vocabulary and examples by reading the full post.

Pattern V-더니 Past Observation of the Speaker

V-더니 is used to describe an observation of the speaker about people or things, or a change that came to be known through personal experience, and always precedes a statement resulting from that observation. A good example in English/Korean of how this pattern would be used: "my friend used to eat a lot of ice cream before더니 these days he even hates the sight of ice cream." V-더니 can therefore only be used in the middle of a sentence and can never end a sentence.

The clause before V-더니 can only be in the second or third person, so this pattern is therefore not appropriate to describe things the speaker has done. It is used to describe what the speaker has noticed about the external environment.

Examples

예전에 친구가 아이스크림를 많이 먹더니 요즘에 아이스크림을 보기도 싫어해요.
(I noticed before that) My friend ate a lot of ice cream in the past but now he hates even the sight of ice cream.
아침에 구름이 많더니 오후에는 없어졌어요. 
(I noticed) there were a lot of clouds in the morning, but they have all disappeared in the afternoon.
친구가 직장을 다니기 시작하더니 이제는 바빠서 못만나요.
Now that my friend has started working, we cannot meet a lot because he is busy (implies that the speaker and the friend used to meet a lot before).

Hanja 火 (화) - Fire, Anger

한자 (pronounced [한짜]) are the Chinese characters behind many Korean words used in modern Korean. Being aware of them helps with guessing word meanings and retention of new vocabulary.

火 (화) as a character has two main English meanings, fire and anger, and is used in many words related to these concepts. When 火 is used by itself as a word, it almost always means anger. as a radical that appears in many other 한자, such as (, flame) or  (, disaster). Read the article for examples of words including 火 (화) fire, anger.