Hiragana Practice

I’ve been meaning to log my Japanese progress, but was lazy to do so. I still remember some but I have to fine-tune the similar ones.

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There’s a picture of it. I think I have to start writing real Japanese words instead of just the character cause otherwise it makes it harder to remember.

On other news, I only have 10 days before starting my last undergraduate semester… and I’ve been skipping French. To make things worse, two of my classes will be held in French. I’m so not looking forward to that lol

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Lateralization of Nasal ㄴ and Nasalisation of Rhotic ㄹ

One of the hardest part or perhaps the most confusing of learning Korean is the pronunciation. They have a lot of phonological rules that are hard to remember when pronouncing it so my goal is to simplify matters. I’m starting with this one because it’s special in its own right since it deviates from the patterns of the others.

In class or in whatever textbook they tell you that an ㄴ before ㄹ can become  two ㄴ (also if it’s backwards) but that also that this sequence of sounds can become twoㄹ instead. Usually (more like never), they don’t clarify when it becomes exactly ㄴ or ㄹ. Apparently, the assimilation of one to the other relies entirely on whether it’s Sino-Korean word or Pure Korean and whether there’s a morpheme boundary or a word boundary.

The rules of nasalization and lateralization of these two phonemes is bound by their origin. The reason this happens it’s because Korean doesn’t accept the successive combination of ㄴ and ㄹ.

1. If the word is Pure Korean, it will always become ㄹㄹ.

In order to know that, you must know about the vocabulary. If the word starts with ㄹ or ㄴ, it’s a Sino-Korean word because Pure Korean words doesn’t have words that start with those. However, there are words who suffered even more change to accommodate the Korean phonological rules. There’s for example 년 (年) which means year, it’s a Sino-Korean word but when it starts the word, it becomes 연  like in 연세 (年歲) which means age.

Note: This rule doesn’t include loanwords from English.

2. In the case  it’s a Sino-Korean word, it can become either ㄴ or ㄹ.

A. If there’s a word boundary, then ㄹ becomes ㄴ.

This is the hardest part for those who doesn’t know a lick of Hanja, because they don’t distinguish word boundary by space but by meaning in itself (if there’s two independent words together).

B. If there’s a morpheme boundary, then ㄴ becomes ㄹ.

It is a bit easier to know the morpheme boundary because, if both form a word that holds a meaning by itself then, the ㄴ becomes an ㄹ.  A clear example of it is 신라 (新羅) of Silla Kingdom. The meaning more or less of the first character stands for 새 (new) so it is like a counter (which counts as a morpheme but is an adverb and not a free form) and the second one stands for 그물 (net) which it is a word in itself. Therefore, the ㄴ becomes an ㄹ.

 

Honestly speaking, it doesn’t make much difference for anyone who doesn’t know Hanja. However, there is a method to this madness (lol) because at least when you learn Korean, you usually know which words are Sino-Korean and which ones Pure ones so in the end you can get away with changing the combination to ㄹ.

Crash Course on Phonological and Phonetic Terminology

I believe it’s beneficial for everyone if before I start writing about Korean linguistics, I first introduce some terminology that will be really helpful. I don’t plan to explain terminology in future posts but I will link this particular one to the others. Also, this post will be far from complete but I will update it as I keep introducing new terms that are not here yet. I will also include some grammatical terms that are related to phonological and phonetic phenomena. However, I believe that once I start going fully into syntactic, I will write a post like this one dedicated to its terminology.

A. Word Linguistic Components

1. Morpheme: is the smallest possible unit in a language which can convey meaning.

2. Morpheme Boundary: It’s the morphemes bound in any one word. It’s anything that denotes a meaning by itself. For example in the word houses, there are two morphemes (house+s to denote that there’s a plural).

3. Word Boundary: It is the beginning and the end of a word (that has it’s own full meaning). If you got two words together that could exist by themselves then that’s what we call word boundary. For example: Blackbird can be divided in two equal words so that’s where the word boundary is.

Note: All words are morphemes but not all morphemes are words. Therefore, the trick to know which one is it, it’s by determining whether it can stand on its own if separated.