The Korean Consonant 'ㅇ'


In a previous note, we learned that a syllable is always composed of a vowel and a consonant even if the syllable doesn't have a consonant sound. How is that possible?

Well, many Korean words have syllables that only contain a vowel such as o-neul (today), koyang-i (cat), and u-san (umbrella), but writing them without a consonant makes them incomplete. Take a look at this.

o-neul  ㅗ늘
i-ma  ㅣ마
u-san  ㅜ산

What if we inscribe them in pieces of blocks in our imaginary box?

As you see, there's an empty space in every pair of syllables and those are the ones that have no consonant sound. So how do we make it complete? We do that by filling in the empty blocks with the circular consonant (). Even so, it's not pronounced as ng but just a silent alphabet serving an awesome purpose.

o-neul  오늘
i-ma  이마
u-san  우산

Hence, the rule is applied: a syllable is always composed of a vowel and a consonant. Doesn't it look much better and prettier now? Hangeul surely has a lot of wonders you'll fall in love with.