geulja geek pt 5

Geulja Geek: 우, 유, 으, 이, 의, and ㅔ

Welcome to part 5 of our series, Geulja Geek (geulja = letter). If you haven’t read Part 1 I highly recommendstarting there first. Part 1 gives context on things to look at when learning to read/write Korean as well as details that need special attention for those interested in type design.

Part 1: ㄱ, ㄴ, ㄷ, ㄹ, and ㅁ
Part 2: ㅂ, ㅅ, ㅇ, ㅈ, and ㅊ
Part 3: ㅋ, ㅌ, ㅍ,  and ㅎ
Part 4: 아, 야, 어, 여, 오, and 요
Part 5:  우, 유, 으, 이, 의, and ㅔ

Let’s get started with the last set of letters: 우, 유, 으, 의, and 이.

Hangul Character: ㅜ
Character Name: U
Pronunciation: Ooh sound

Pronounced similar to the u/ooh sounds in English. It’s like the u in the word true and the oo in loose.
Geulja Geek - U

Hangul Character: ㅠ
Character Name: Yu
Pronunciation: You sound

Just like previously, adding a second vertical stroke creates the additional y sound. So this letter sounds like the word you.
Geulja Geek - Yu

Hangul Character: ㅡ
Character Name: Eu
Pronunciation: Eu sound

This is a tricky letter. This sound doesn’t entirely exist in English as a separate sound and can easily be confused with ㅜ/u. The way I think about it is that when pronouncing ㅜ/u the mouth creates a circular o shape. However, when pronouncing ㅡ/eu it’s like making the u sound but this time your lips widen out, as if smiling. Another way to think about it is that it’s like making the ew sound (ew, as in something is gross) and trying to say only the middle part without the clear e beginning and w ending.
Geulja Geek - Eu

Hangul Character: ㅣ
Character Name: I
Pronunciation: Ee sound

Last but not least, this letter is simple to remember. It makes the ee sound like in the words eel and sleep.
Geulja Geek - I

Hangul Character: ㅢ
Character Name: Wi
Pronunciation: Wi sound

Not entirely a letter on it’s own, but still important to call out when learning how to read Korean. Some vowels can be combined to make the w sound. In this example ㅡ/eu and ㅣ/i (which is coming up next)  are put together to create the wi sound. Other letters that can be combined like this are ㅘ/waㅙ/wae (pronounced like weh), ㅚ/oeㅝ/woㅞ/we (also pronounced like weh), and ㅟ/ui (also pronounced like wi). These are not letters on their own and must be typed individually (e.g. type ㅡ and then ㅣ to make ㅢ) to write them. Another way to think about is that these combinations take up two spaces in a character block rather than one.
Geulja Geek - Eui

Hangul Character:
Character Name: Eoi
Pronunciation: Eh sound

Another combination of letters. This creates the eh sound like in the words set and tent. Other letters that are similar are ㅖ/ye, ㅐ/ae (also pronounced like eh),  andㅒ/yae (also pronounced like yeh). These however act as singular letters in typefaces (e.g. ㅔ is one character on the keyboard, so typing ㅓ and ㅣ will give you two separate letters, ㅓㅣ, rather than ㅔ). This can also be thought of as taking up only one space in a character block rather than two spaces.
Geulja Geek - Eoi

And that’s all of the letters! But we’re not done yet. Now that we’ve covered the letters individually next up is how to put them together.

Part 1: ㄱ, ㄴ, ㄷ, ㄹ, and ㅁ
Part 2: ㅂ, ㅅ, ㅇ, ㅈ, and ㅊ
Part 3: ㅋ, ㅌ, ㅍ,  and ㅎ
Part 4: 아, 야, 어, 여, 오, and 요
Part 5:  우, 유, 으, 의, and 이

Typefaces used:
Gothic (top): Nanum Gothic
Gothis (bottom): Dohyeon
Myeongjo: Un Batang
Modern: Shin Graphic
Handwritten: Nanum Songulshi
Original: Heumjeonguem