The Feeling Delivered by the Pronunciation of Korean Words

I believe most languages tend to deliver feeling and emotion through pronunciation. Especially, the Korean language has had many words that have this kind of characteristic. As you guys notice, the sound of the aspirated consonants and tense consonants is pretty rough and not smooth.

Most of the Korean names of weapons are comprised of aspirated and tense consonants. Let me give you some examples.

In fact, before Japanese Invasions of Korea (1592–1598), which is known as the Imjin War(임진왜란 [imjinwe-lan]), ‘갈 [gal]’ was used to mean the noun ‘knife’ instead of ‘칼 [kal].’ Also, ‘사호다 [sahoda]’ was used to mean the verb ‘to fight ’ instead of ‘싸우다 [ssauda].’ In other words, ‘갈’ and ‘사호다’ were the middle-Korean forms of ‘칼’ and ‘싸우다.’

In my opinion, the war had influence and made ‘갈’ and ‘사호다’ to become pronounced as ‘칼’ and ‘싸우다.’

In this way, the negative atmosphere of society seems to make languages rough and harsh.

“The more wars and disasters the country is involved in, the harsher the sounds used in the language.”

(I’ve just noticed that pretty much all swear words or profane language in both Korean and English contain one or more stressed consonants. You can think of several bad words even without me listing some of them; they will invariably have strong sounds when you pronounce them.)

On the other hand, the words which have positive meaning have an inclination not to include the sound of aspirated and tense consonants.

Considering this linguistic characteristic, when you guys are faced with unfamiliar Korean vocabulary, you are able to infer the approximate meaning. Also, it can help you guys categorize words with appropriate patterns more readily.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post.

Don’t hesitate to comment below or contact me if you have any questions!

This posting is from the blog ‘Organic Korean.’
Original Post:
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Reference :

  1. 이외수. 바보 바보. 서울: 해냄출판사; 2004.
  2. 이외수. 글쓰기의 공중 부양. 서울: 해냄출판사; 2007.
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