Pronunciation for 성격 (personality) is [seong-kkyeok] not [seong-gyeok]

I really didn't make this up.

I really didn’t make this up.

According to Naver Korean Dictionary, the Korean word for “personality”,”성격“, is actually pronounced “seong-kkyeok”[성:껵], not “seong-gyeok”, and [seong] is a pronounced a little longer because there is a “:” mark in the middle.

When I watched the video from Quick Korean Lesson 3-2 today, I noticed that the female teacher who was a foreigner pronounced the word 성격 as [seong-gyeok] and the native Korean male teacher never corrected her, even though he himself pronounced the word 성격 correctly as [seong-kkyeok]. I wonder why.

Anyway, I love Quick Korean, it’s fun and engaging. There is no subtitles since level 3, or maybe since level 2? But don’t worry because the teachers speak very clearly and use simple Korean. I’m just happy I could understand the video lesson without translation. Maybe if I took a class with a native teacher in Korea, I could keep up?

I learned 2 new expressions from Level 3-2:

샘이 많다=get jealous easily
친구는 샘이 많아서 예쁜 여자 애들을 부러워해요.=My friend is prone to jealousy so she keeps getting jealous of pretty girls.

모나다=have a bad personality, fussy, hard to get along with
성격이 모나면 친구들이 별로 없어요.=If you’re hard to get along with, you won’t have so many friends.

This is fun. I’ll watch the video for level 3-3 tomorrow. ###


7 thoughts on “Pronunciation for 성격 (personality) is [seong-kkyeok] not [seong-gyeok]

  1. I have been working on pronunciation lately, so it is fresh in my memory that the ‘ㅇ’ ng is interacting with the ‘ㄱ’ so that is why it is pronounced that way.

    The ‘ㅇ’ preceding ‘ㄱ’ reinforces the plain plosive consonant into the tensed plosive consonant ‘ㄲ’.

    There are 12 plosive consonants. They get grouped by plain, aspirated, and tense depending on whether you use puffs of air or muscle tension to make them.
    Plain……: ㅂ, ㄷ, ㅈ, ㄱ
    Aspirated: ㅍ, ㅌ, ㅊ, ㅋ
    Tense….: ㅃ, ㄸ, ㅉ, ㄲ

    You are far ahead of me in Korean language study, so already know this rule, but some of your readers might not. Hope this was helpful. It was an eye-opening moment for me when I realized ㄱ ㅋ ㄲ were really the same consonant except for air/tensed.


  2. As to why the male teacher did not correct the female teacher, don’t you think it would have been rude if he had done that on air, embarrassing the woman? She would have lost face, and if she is indeed a foreigner who has worked hard to learn Korean, how essential is it? You obviously could understand her, even if not perfect pronunciation.

    It is ok to be aware, while working on improving your own skills. It isn’t always the right time to correct someone else.


    • It’s recorded, well rehearsed, and they have scenarios so it must be not about politeness. Maybe Koreans don’t realize it because as you said, the sounds of ㄱ ㅋ ㄲ come out from the same place? I didn’t know that so thank you for your explanation. ^^


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