I really like the phonetic function of Naver Translate (romanization). So if you click the [a] symbol below the input box, you will get romanization which is very close to the correct pronunciation because it takes account of hangul pronunciation changes.
For example, if you type 입장권을 샀어요? (Did you buy the admission ticket?), click Translate, and click Phonetic, Naver Translate will give you [ipjjangkkwoneulsassoyo] because 입장권 is actually pronounced [입짱꿘] so the romanization should be [ipjjangkkwon]. Because maybe your Korean teacher/friends wouldn’t even correct you, you know.
I think it’s awesome and it should be helpful for beginners who are not familiar yet with hangul pronunciation changes (me, few years ago).
Anyway, Naver Translate is the best! It has one weakness, though. The phonetic function doesn’t differentiate the big o (어/eo) and the small o (오/o).
By the way, I know a lot of bloggers write that romanization is evil and that they hate romanization passionately. I don’t need romanization anymore to read hangul but when I started learning Korean on my own, I found romanization helpful because I didn’t have anyone to teach me when I had trouble differentiating 아 and 어, 우 and 오, etc., or when I misread words. Reading hangul without romanization was really painful for me. I was more worried about hating learning Korean itself than following other learners’ advice so I didn’t obey them.
Why did I even have the idea of obeying strangers on the internet? They don’t even know me. Must be my own emotional neediness to be likeable.
However, it is true that after you think you’re good with hangul, you will find romanization distracting. It happened to me. And it’s true that there are many Korean textbooks that don’t even tell you about pronunciation changes even if they do have romanization.
By the way, recently I heard [오른쫑뇨] from an audio file of a Korean textbook, and I was surprised because I never thought that 오른쪽 (at the right/to the right) + grammar -요 would be pronounced [오른쫑뇨]. Even though I learned about the pronunciation rule so it wasn’t really a mystery to me, I was still surprised.
I like the song Mystery by Hyoyeon. 🙂
Anyway, I have an advice for beginners. Be careful when you make flashcards by writing/typing by yourself, it’s very likely that you will misspell the hangul words. I think it’s better to copy and paste from online dictionary to avoid misspelling.
I think it’s a good idea to learn about the correct pronunciation when you learn the word for the first time. When you learn the word 한국말 (spoken Korean language), you should find out that the pronunciation is actually [한궁말/han-gung-mal], not [han-guk-mal]. Or 문법 (grammar) is pronounced [문뻡/mun-ppeop], not [mun-beop]. Why wait until someone else corrects you?
But it’s just an opinion, because even if you misspell or mispronounce words, it’s not the end of the world, and the chance is you will find out about it as you keep learning and using the language. ###