ㅇ is silent syllable-initially and is used as a placeholder when the syllable starts with a vowel. ㄸ, ㅃ, and ㅉ are never used syllable-finally.
The pronunciation of a syllable-final consonant may be affected by the following letter, and vice-versa. The table below describes these assimilation rules. Spaces are left blank when no modification occurs.
The consonants ㄹ and ㅎ also experience weakening. The liquid ㄹ, when in an intervocalic position, will be weakened to a [ɾ]. For example, the final ㄹ in the word 말 ([maɭ], 'word') changes when followed by the subject marker 이 (ㅇ being a sonorant consonant), and changes to a [ɾ] to become [maɾi].
Lax consonants are tensed when following other obstruents due to the fact that the first obstruent's articulation is not released. Tensing can be seen in words like 입구 ('entrance') /ipku/ which is pronounced as [ip̚k͈u].
Consonants in the Korean alphabet can be combined into one of 11 consonant clusters, which always appear in the final position in a syllable block. They are: ㄳ, ㄵ, ㄶ, ㄺ, ㄻ, ㄼ, ㄽ, ㄾ, ㄿ, ㅀ, and ㅄ.
In cases where consonant clusters are followed by words beginning with ㅇ or ㄷ, the consonant cluster is resyllabified through a phonological phenomenon called liaison. In words where the first consonant of the consonant cluster is ㅂ,ㄱ, or ㄴ (the stop consonants), articulation stops and the second consonant cannot be pronounced without releasing the articulation of the first once. Hence, in words like 값 /kaps/ ('price'), the ㅅ cannot be articulated and the word is thus pronounced as [kap̚]. The second consonant is usually revived when followed by a word with initial ㅇ (값이 → [kap̚.si]. Other examples include 삶 (/salm/ [sam], 'life'). The ㄹ in the final consonant cluster is generally lost in pronunciation, however when followed by the subject marker 이, the ㄹ is revived and the ㅁ takes the place of the blank consonant ㅇ. Thus, 삶이 is pronounced as [sal.mi].
In the Southern order, double letters are placed immediately after their single counterparts:
As in South Korea, the names of vowels in the Korean alphabet are the same as the sound of each vowel.
For the iotized vowels, which are not shown, the short stroke is simply doubled.
Short strokes (dots in the earliest documents) were added to these three basic elements to derive the vowel letter:
Numerous obsolete Korean letters and sequences are no longer used in Korean. Some of these letters were only used to represent the sounds of Chinese rime tables. Some of the Korean sounds represented by these obsolete letters still exist in dialects.
The placement or stacking of letters in the block follows set patterns based on the shape of the medial.
Blocks are always written in phonetic order, initial-medial-final. Therefore:
These fonts have been used as design accents on signs or headings, rather than for typesetting large volumes of body text.