새해 복 많이 받으세요! 복? 봉?

Happy New Year!

How do you pronounce this?

새해 복 많이 받으세요!
[sae-hae bong ma-ni ba-deu-se-yo]
or
[sae-hae bok ma-ni ba-deu-se-yo]?

From a Korean textbook, I learned that the 복 [bok] changes to 봉 [bong] because if [k]  is followed by [m] sound of 많이[ma-ni], it changes to [ng]. How come a lot of Korean learners don’t know this rule?

ㄱ+ㅁ=ㅇ+ㅁ

복 + 많이 = 봉 + 많이

So whenever I watch a New Year’s greeting video on YouTube from a Korean celebrity, I pay attention, and yeah, they ALWAYS pronounce it 봉 [bong], not 복 [bok]. Just search 새해 인사 (=New Year’s greetings) on YouTube, you’ll find a lot of them.

This one is from B.A.P:

But one time, I heard a native Korean on TV pronounces it as 복 [bok], too. So probably it doesn’t really matter. I don’t know. ;P ###

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14 thoughts on “새해 복 많이 받으세요! 복? 봉?

    • 안녕하세요. It’s important to know that there is a rule, and sometimes people break it.ㅋㅋ If we don’t know the rules, it makes listening comprehension difficult for us. 새해 복 많이 받으시고 행복한 한 해 되시길 바랍니다.

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  1. It all depends on whether you stop between the syllables. Koreans have no control over how they pronounce plosives+nasals clusters. They do it mechanically, without thinking, especially thinking of following or breaking a rule. For instance, in 독립, because it is one word, and the 2 syllables are normally pronounced without a pause between them, it will always come out as 동닙 (note the second rule where consonant + ㄹ = consonant + ㄴ). However, in the case of “복 많이” it’s two words, and sometimes, especially on TV and occasions where people want to emphasise, they stop slightly after 복. So in that case it will come out as 복+pause+많이. However is they pronounce the whole sentence in one shot, it’ll come out as 봉만. See for instance the name “복만이” (http://www.bokmani.net/) there is absolutely no way to pronounce it “복만이”. It’ll always be pronounced as “봉만이” as the 비음화 rule is triggered.

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    • Thank you for the explanation. Yes, I suspect Koreans don’t realize these rules, while I learned them dilligently from a book. But there are also Korean books that explain these rules for native Koreans, though, not only for foreigners. I think standard Korean pronunciation rules do exist.

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    • I haven’t been to Korean schools — at least below college level — so I dunno how [ㄱㄷㅂ]+[ㄴㄹㅁ] is explained/taught to young Koreans but knowing the Korean mentality and hierarcht dynamics I highly suspect it’s along the lines of “It’s like that. Learn it. Memorize it. Don’t ask.”

      When I was a PhD student I wrote the set of rules of Korean pronunciation as a generative grammar. It was quite complex. I would hate to have to do it again today.

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    • Here is a book that explains standard pronunciation rules for Koreans: KBS 아나운서와 함께 배우는 한국어 표준 발음 바르게 읽기. ISBN: 8972002313. The rules are written on the last 10 pages or so.

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  2. Oh-mi-gosh… Which textbook did you use to figure out the various “sounds” character groupings make depending on if they are followed by consonants or vowels…?? I am desperately looking for such a book to improve my pronunciation and reading abilities. It is in fact quite confusing at times; take sol-nal for instance, which is pronounced sollal… WHY?! (apologies for not writing in Hangul, but it is not currently installed on THIS particular computer).

    Best wishes for the New 2014 Year!!!!! 🙂
    xoxo NaNa

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    • You’re kidding me! I learned all the rules in chapter 1 where the book taught how to read hangul but I used books written in Japanese. I thought all beginner’s textbooks are structured the same way… So they’re not. 😯 The rule that applies to 설날: [ㄴ] that comes after & before [ㄹ] is pronounced [ㄹ] .
      설날 is pronounced seol-lal [설랄]
      신라 is pronounced sil-la [실라]
      천 리 (1000 li) is pronounced cheol-li [철리]
      물난리 (flood damage, shortage of water) is pronounced mul-lal-li [물랄리].

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    • As for 설날 and its counterpart 신라 basically you have to learn this rule:

      * ㄴ+ㄹ and ㄹ+ㄴ = ㄹ+ㄹ The reason behind this (while not important: you should not ask WHY? but learn and accept it) is regressive / progressive assimilation. ㄹ assimilates any ㄴ around it to ㄹ.

      Meanwhile, ㄹ is assimilated to ㄴ when preceded by any other consonant (or at the beginning of a word, more about that in a moment). So for instance 범례 (凡例) is pronounced 범녜. Now, what happens with plosives is this:

      Take the word 박리분식.
      First, the ㄹ in 리 becomes ㄴ:
      1/ 박리 –> 박니
      Then the ㄱ, since it precedes what is now a nasal consonant, nasalizes to ㅇ:
      2/ 박니 –> 방니

      Same goes for other consonants: 합력 (合力) 함녁.

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