Korean Double Final Consonants

First of all, the final consonant in a Korean syllable is called a 'batchim". Most Korean words have a single batchim, while others have no batchim at all. Let's take for instance the words  (neck) and  (nose).  has "" as batchim, while  has no batchim in it.

But did you know that Korean has words that end with double final consonants? That’s right, and reading them can be confusing because we tend to read them together which actually sounds weird. You should know that only of them is pronounced while the other is silent. How do we know?

There are a total of nine double final consonants and we categorize them into two. For the first category, only the consonant on the left is voiced. They are , and . Below are sample words, their meaning, and pronunciation.

      (목다)     allotment/share/portion
많다  (만타)     to be many
앉다  (안타)     to sit down
여덟  (여덜)     the number eight
넓다  (널다)     to be wide
없다  (업타)     to not have

Most of them are verbs in their infinitive form. When conjugated into their different tenses, the syllable on the right is pronounced but as the initial consonant of the next syllable. For example, “I have no money” in Korean is “나는 돈이 없어요”. The 없어요 is pronounced like 업서요. This is not the case with  where “” remains silent after the conjugation. For instance, in the sentence “사람이 많아요” (There are many people), we don’t pronounce it as 만하요 but 만나요.

The second group of this type are , and  where the right consonant is voiced and the left one is silent. Below are sample words, their meaning, and pronunciation.

      ()         soil
읽다  (익다)     to read
젊다  (점다)     to be young  
      ()         life
읊다  (읖타)     to recite (a poem)

Just like the first group, the originally silent consonant is voiced when conjugated (in case of verb) or added with particles (in the case of noun). The last syllable is drag to the next syllable as its initial consonant. For instance, “읽어요” is pronounced like “일거요” and “삶은” is pronounced like “살믄”.