Starcraft Korean: Hangul

So, you've been watching Starcraft 2 for a while. Following your favourite player crush the people on the youtube VOD's or the tournaments you saw him in. The word foreigner has been used quite some time, but obliviously you didn't pay much attention to it. Until that fateful day that your hero gets pitted against the 'indigenous' korean. Perhaps stereotypically, he gets crushed in such a way that you wonder why you haven't heard of that korean before.

This is just one of the ways that lead to the point where you want to learn Korean. And you are not alone. Infact, there are loads of other people that came from watching starcraft, to learning korean casually. This series aims to teach you some 'Starcraft Korean' as I would like to call it.

You won't be taught how to speak fluently, or buy apples at the grocery store. You won't learn how to ask that girl out, or tell her your true feelings. You won't find ways to impress your boss to take on korean clients, or how to make that delicious korean recipy you got from the internet. What you will find though, is way to describe just how baller your +2 baneling drops were, and how to read starcraft forum posts that talk about the glory of Sheth's keyboard.

This is an easy introduction to the series, and I'll start it off with the letter system from korean, Hangul. And a few words to start off with.

Hangul

Hangul is remarkably similar to the alphabet, in that each letter represents a sound. The only clear difference is that the letters are used differently. In english, each letter can stand on its own, but in korean they must exist on combinations.

Below is a table listing all the korean letters and when you click them, it swaps the letter for the english equivelant. It might be handy to use as a sort of flashcard way of learning.

Note: You need to have javascript enabled to toggle. If it still does not work, jQuery is acting up. It should work later.

g
n
d
l/r
m
b
s
ng
j
ch
k
t
p
h
gg
ss
bb
jj
dd
a
ya
u
yu
eo
yeo
o
yo
eh
yeh
ae
yae
Ee
uh

As I said before, hangul letters have to be combined to make any sense at all. Let\'s take a few examples. The name of the self proclaimed protoss president, oGsMC, is Jang Min Chul. In english, this easily makes for 11 characters. In korean, all those letters are condensed into three characters: 장민철. This not only makes korean different from languages like Chinese, but makes it the perfect Twitter language too! 140 characters aint a problem when you can jam up to four of them in one character.

If we take apart these characters, we see that this character isn\'t something new. But merely built using the letters from the korean alphabet. 장 is a combination of ㅈ,ㅏ and ㅇ. Likewise in 민, being ㅁ,ㅣand ㄴ. The smallest combinations possible are 2 letters, and the longest being 4.

Behold, the reason I should not draw sentries T_T

One particular character shows up though, ㅇ. This letter represents both no sound, and -ng. "No sound?" you may ask yourself, but wait, its easily explainable.

Because hangul needs to be combined, you need a constant and a vowel. This would be easy enough if you just needed to say something like Ka. But what if you just want to say A? Thats where ㅇ comes along. Putting ㅇ infront of the vowel, in this case A, makes it possible to write a hangul combination without using a constant like K, P or M.

Let's leave it at that, there are other articles that are far more descriptive than this one, so I definitely advise you to pay a visit to those if you want to know more. I'll list a couple of them below:

Moving on, here's a few very commonly used words to give you a start.

Wordlist

EnglishKorean
Yes
No아니요
Hello안녕하세요!
Good Bye ( when the person talking to you is leaving )안녕히 가세요!
Good Bye ( when you\'re leaving )안녕히 개세요!
Thanks감사합니다!
Sorry미안해
One moment please!잠시만요!
Starcraft스타그래프트
Zerg저그
Terran태란
Protoss프로토스
GGㅈㅈ or 지지요 or ㅎㅎ

That concludes this brief introduction. Follow up articles have been written but need some pictures first.

Comments

A Misson

5 maart 2012

Nice blog! I've been learning Korean all because of Starcraft :). Just a question, when would you use 죄송합니 instead of 미안해? Would it be a little too formal?

Thanks!

A Misson is quoting A Misson

5 maart 2012

죄송합니다* typo

Kevin te Raa is quoting A Misson

5 maart 2012

I think that's best to ask a real Korean speaker. I'm pretty sure they know a lot more about when to say what :). Here's a TL thread to help you find some : http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=300309

tifapriori is quoting Kevin te Raa

5 maart 2012

죄송합니다 is more formal. age/position all influence what style of speech. if anything, err on the side of caution/being lower rank/age/position, which means use 죄송합니다 instead of 미안해 which is also currently written in 'intimate style'. You could make 미안해 more formal by saying 미안해요 or 미안힙니다 instead.

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