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  • Real Accent Challenges Faced by Korean Speakers
  • Korean accent

    Learning a new language is an interesting task when it can be really overwhelming. If you travel from one geographical location to another, you can figure out that the sound changes after a few kilometers.

    Every language has its own accent and sounds, but improvisation and reduction of accent can be a demanding task.

    English spoken by Korean native speakers can sometimes be perceived by native English speakers as monologue and monotone. The Korean language is one such language that can make things complicated for the learner. Moreover, it is the syllable-timed language. Each syllable in this language is distinctly produced with equal stress.

    By contrast, English is a stress-timed language. Similar to English, Japanese or Chinese, Korean is not a tonal language. According to linguistic experts, the Korean language has less variation in pitch and stress than English. In addition to this, it is generally said that Korean people find it more difficult to adapt to Asian accent while speaking American English.

    Well, reading and writing skills of English can be totally difficult for the Korean person. The reason behind this is simple; writing doesn’t need an accent. Indeed, writing and reading are two different challenges with discrete challenges and strong notions. Each syllable in the Korean language is differently produced with an equal level of stress on the sounds and mouth movements.

    Some Technical Factors

    How does the Korean Vowels Work?

    Korean has around 10 vowels, 11 diphthongs, and 2 semi-vowels. Well, all Korean vowels are voiced and non-nasal similar to English vowels. Nasal sound is something that makes things really complicated for the learner (accent reduction). Korean speakers may find the problem in producing and perceiving vowels in a similar way as fluent English speakers.

    There are around 7 vowels in English that do not exist in Korean:

    /I/ (as in “bit”), /ae/ (as in “apple”), the “u” sound as in “put”, the “or” sound (as in “for”, “author” and “gnaw”), the /aI/ diphthong (as in “like”), the “or-I” diphthong (as in “boy” or “oil”), and the “au” diphthong (as in “cow” or “allow”).

    Linguistic Techniques

    Particular common issues, including producing and understanding the differences within:

    “u” (as in “put”), “or” and “er” sounds.

    the short “e” sound (as in “egg”) and the short “a” sound (as in apple); and

    the long “ee” sound (/i/) as in “beet” and the short “i” sound (/I/) as in “bit”;

    Consonant Clusters

    Korean has around 19 consonants. There are around 12 English consonants that do not exist in Korean and Korean has fewer consonants in comparison to English. Consonants in the Korean are illustrious by the degree of aspiration and anxiously. Whereas, in English, consonants are distinguished by voicing and the aspiration of the degree.

    According to some researchers, “The tense characteristic of Korean consonants can influence vowels, giving Korean speech a “laryngeal” or “throaty” eminence.”

    Sounds such as /f/, /v/, “th” (voiceless, as in “bath”), “th” (voiced, as in “bathe”), /z/, “sh”, “ch”, “zh” (as in “measure” or “vision”), “j” and “r” don’t exist in Korean. /b, d/ and /g/ are often unvoiced.

    In syllable-final position, only 7 consonants occur in Korean (/p, t, k, m, n, l/ and “ng”). The Korean consonant /s/* has only an insignificant air escape, which makes it diverse from the English /s/.

    In Korean, there are hardly any consonant clusters at the beginning or end of syllables. There are various Korean speakers, who are habitual of inserting a vowel, when they speak English words, such as consonant clusters. For example “strike” is sometimes pronounced like “sitilaiki”.

    Korean speakers often enunciate the /f/ sound like a /p/ sound. That means that the word stuff sounds like stop.

    For instance, the word coffee sounds like a copy of the word laugh sounds like a lap. This line can define the meaning of Korean language speaking.

    No doubt, English is a versatile language, but there is an assortment of languages that have been ruling the world. Korean speakers are there in one of the most popular sections. But, it can be really difficult for a person, who has a fluent Korean accent to adopt an English accent. The reason behind this is quite clear because the technical factors behind Korean and English are quite different. The movement of facial muscles during the pronunciation of certain words, sound, tons and dialect are some protagonistic elements when it comes to language barriers.

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