In here, I’ll share with you the first six vowels in Hangeul. But before that, we should remember the two kinds of vowels: the horizontal and vertical vowels. In a syllable, the horizontal vowel is written with the consonant positioned above it.
ㄱ (consonant) + ㅗ (vowels) = 고
The vertical vowel is written with the consonant on the left and the vowel on the right.
ㄱ (consonant) +ㅏ (vowels) = 가
Characters of Hangeul are written from top to bottom and left to right with uninterrupted strokes even when they change direction.
There are syllables that begins with a vowel and requires the consonant “O“. “O” has no sound value in this position. The initial consonant position is place holder in accordance with consonant-vowel syllable rule. NO KOREAN VOWEL/CONSONANT CAN STAND ALONE.
For horizontal vowels, “O” is positioned top of the vowel.
O (consonant) + ᅩ (vowel) = 오
For vertical vowels, “O” is positioned on the left of the vowel.
O (consonant) + ᅡ (vowel) =아
Now, we can begin with the vowels. The first vowel is “ᅡ”.
Letter (글 자) : ᅡ
Sound value (음 가) : [a]
“ᅡ” is pronounced “a” as in “father” or “America”. As a stand-alone syllable, “ᅡ” is written as 아. Now practice speaking and reading “아” as “a”. Practice writing 아 while reading it aloud. Practice as many times as you can. I recommend writing and reading it ten times before we proceed. You may use a table like this:
Great! Now we know the first vowel. The second one is “ㅓ”.
Letter (글 자): ㅓ
Sound value (음 가): [Ə]
“ㅓ” is read as “eo” as in “Uh-oh”. This is sound is made by a slight opening of the mouth, tongue relaxed with no air coming out. Now practice speaking and reading “어” as “eo”. Practice writing 어 while reading it aloud.
Now practice speaking, reading, and writing 아 and 어.
The third vowel is “ㅗ”.
Letter (글 자) : ㅗ
Sound value ( ): [o]
“ㅗ” is read as “o” as in “home”. Push your lips out while forming a round shape. Now practice speaking and reading “오” as “o”. Practice writing 오.
Now practice with 아 ,어, and 오.
I find writing while reading out loud the letters quite helpful.
The fourth vowel is “ㅜ”.
Letter (글 자): ㅜ
Sound value (음 가): [ʊ]
“ㅜ” is read as “u” as in “boot” or “soot”. Push lips out pushing it upward. Now practice speaking and reading 우 as “u”. Practice writing 우. Yeah, it’s an order.
Now practice with 아, 어, 오 and 우.
HA! Now we’re on the fifth vowel. You know on the first day that I started, I felt so accomplished with my fifth vowel knowledge. Yeah lame but hey! I welcome any addition in my brain. Right! Now on to the fifth which is “ㅡ”.
Letter (글 자): ㅡ
Sound value (음 가): [ɨ]
“ㅡ” is read as “eu”. My 선생님 (teacher) gave us a great tip in learning to read “ㅡ”. Pronounce the word “great” several times. Now eliminate the syllable “reat” from “great” and continue repeating the “g” sound. Now remove the consonant sound g. The sound remaining (eu) is the “ㅡ” sound. Make a slight opening of the mouth with little space between your two choppers. Don’t push your lips out.
Now practice speaking and reading “으” as “eu”. Do this several times. This vowel is one of the most difficult to pronounce at first try for foreigners (well, for me at least). Practice writing 으.
Practice with 아, 어, 오, 우 and 으.
Alright! We’re on the sixth vowel. Please give yourselves a pat on the shoulder.
The sixth basic vowel is “ㅣ”.
Letter: (글 자): ㅣ
Sound value (음 가): [i]
This one is pretty easy. “ㅣ” is pronounced as “I” as in “feet” or “kit”. Now practice writing and reading 이 as “I”. Practice writing 이.
Now we can practice the six basic vowels. Read as you write 아, 어, 오, 우, 으 and 이.
Fantastic! We are done with step 1. The next step are the basic consonants and consonant-vowel combination. Thank you for reading! I hope you’ll practice the vowels! 감사합니다! [Gamsahamnida= Thank you]