Wednesday, June 18, 2008

발음 - 반모음 탈락

Semi-vowel [y] Omission - 반모음[y] 탈락, 半母音[y] 脫落

There are two semi-vowels in the Korean language. They are [w] and [y]. Word like 와 (wa) and 여 (yeo) carries the semi-vowel [w] and [y] respectively. However, the omission rule to be discussed below only involves semi-vowel [y].

Rule: When semi-vowel [y] comes after a palatal sound (ㅈ, ㅉ, ㅊ), it is omitted.

You probably won't know what the rule means by just reading it. Neither do I. The examples below should give a clearer explanation.

Example 1: 가르쳐요 is pronounced as [가르처요]. As the semi-vowel [y] comes after the palatal sound "ㅊ", it has to be omitted. 쳐 (ch-yeo) is hence pronounced as [처] (ch-eo].

Example 2: 예뻐졌어요 is pronounced as [예뻐저써요]. Similarly, the semi-vowel [y] comes after the palatal sound "ㅈ". As required by the rule, 졌 (j-yeot) is pronounced as [젔] (j-eot) after the semi-vowel [y] is omitted.

All my teachers pronounced 쳐요 as [처요], but for a long time, I used to think that it sounded that way because they were pronouncing 쳐요 very fast to the extent that it sounded like [처요]. I didn't feel that something was amiss as I was also not corrected when I pronounced 쳐요 as 쳐요. As I continue to hear 쳐요 being pronounced as [처요], I changed my thought. I thought, perhaps Koreans like to simplify 여 to 어 during speech, so I started to pronounce 쳐요 as [처요]. It may sound funny now, but I also started to pronounce 며 (m-yeo) as [머] (m-eo) and 력 (l-yeok) as [럭] (l-eok]. While my teacher corrected my mistakes this time round, I was left more puzzled. All this while, I wasn't aware of this semi-vowel omission rule. But when I learned about it, everything seems to fall into place nicely. I guess, the reason why this rule exists is because it is naturally easier to pronounce 처 than 쳐. To pronounce the semi-vowel [y] after "ㅊ", "ㅈ" or "ㅉ" just feel awkward even before I know about this rule.


  1. Thanks for sharing this omission rule. I never knew it existed.

    By the way, which scene in My Lovely Samsoon did you guys act out?

  2. 어, 그래요? 몰랐는데요.고마원요.


  3. It should have been omission rules. This rule is only one out of four. @@

    We acted the scene where Samshik brought a dog as a gift to see his prospective mother-in-law.

  4. hey equinox!!

    placement test results came out today. i got into I2!! :D :D 좋겠다!

    my lessons are being held @ 본관, so no steep slopes for me! unlike my friends at IIE. :P

  5. 그래? 잘 됐네!

    It is actually quite a long walk to 본관. I still like IIE because when I am so hungry that I have no strength to walk to the student's canteen during lunchtime, I can just roll down the slope. ㅋㅋㅋ

  6. thx! :))

    본관's actually nearer for me, cause my hostel's near the back gate of KHU. :P hehe.

    wow, if u were to really roll down the slope, u might miss yr destination n land up near the playing field instead. :P ㅋㅋ