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Episode 3: Diphthongs

안녕하세용! 마가리타입니당!

So I'm back in London and ready to embark on yet another Korean journey with you all! Today we'll be talking about Diphthongs (as weird as that name is). In simple words it means complex or compound vowels and in even simpler terms it means a syllable that contain two vowels whose sounds combine together to form another sound. Hope that was clear ㅋㅋㅋ


의 'eu+ee' - this diphthong may be a bit tricky to pronounce at first, but, trust me, you'll get used to it really soon. Just try and create a bridge between the 'eu' and 'ee' sounds. Try to say it slowly and then speed up.

On its own this syllable can be a possessive particle and when added to other words indicates their possession of something else.

아버지의 차- Dad's car

나의 친구- My friend (Can also be said 내 친구 because 내 --> 나 + 의 combined)

너의 생일- Your birthday (Can also be said 네 생일 because 네--> 너 + 의 combined. 네 is pronounced like 니)


외 'weh'- this is the least logical diphthong to me because I'm thinking about them in terms of the vowels that they contain and the sounds that they combine. This diphthongs combines the 'o' and the 'ee' sounds so it should technically sound something like 'wee' but it doesn't. It's yet another 'weh' sound.

This diphthong appears in 되다, for example, which can mean 'to become' but it also has a variety of other functions. If you take any 하다 verb and replace 하다 with 되다 then you'll get a passive version of that verb,for example:

이해하다- to understand --> 이해되다- to be understood

포함하다- to include --> 포함되다- to be included

제공하다- to provide --> 제공되다- to be provided

왜 'wae' and 웨 'weh'

Even though these two diphthongs sounds almost the same, it makes logical sense to me because the sounds that they are made up of would give a 'we'-like sound. Try separating the vowels and pronouncing them slowly one after another. Speed up and you'll hear the 'we' sound!

왜 in Korean has a meaning of 'why' and in certain instances it can even be translated as 'what.'

웨 is not a widely used diphthong and appears mostly in foreign words like 웨딩 (wedding).

와- 'woa'- one of the most logical and simplest diphthongs, which combines sounds 'o' and 'a'. What can be simpler?

위- 'wee' - the combination of the 'oo' and the 'ee' sounds. Pretty straight forward as well.

On it's own 위 can mean 'above,' just like in EXID's song "위아래"

워- 'wuh' - also another easy diphthong that combines 'oo' and 'eo' sounds.

Korean currency is called 원 (won), which uses this exact diphthong, making it one of the most used one in Korean language.

Please please let me know if you guys have any questions regarding diphthongs or any other aspect of Korean language and I will try to answer them to the best of my ability :)

Much love,


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