I think this should be romanised as jungseok. Charles
Alex Weldon: One of the problems with the Korean language is that there are three different vowels that are sometimes romanized as "u." The only one which is "correct" to romanize is the one that looks like a fat T, and which is pronounced like "u" in "flute". The others are -| (pronounced like the "u" in "hung"), which should be romanized as "eo" and -- (pronounced sort of like the "eu" in the French word "peu," closest English equivalent maybe "u" in "put"), which should be romanized as "eu."
So, if Charles' romanization is correct (probably is), the word would be pronounced like "joong sock."
Perhaps jungseok should be added as an alias for this page.
Charles Just checked - it's the -| vowel in both cases, so jeongseok or even cheongseok.
Bill: I believe that the closest English vowel sounds like jung-suck.
maruseru: I'm neither an English native speaker nor a Korean native speaker, but the Korean character ㅓ is, I believe, not pronounced like the "u" in "hung", but more like the "ou" in "soul" (hence the capital Seoul, which is the romanized version of 서울, is pronounced close to "soul"), or maybe the "aw" in "saw". I guess the closest English vowel sounds for 정석 would therefore be "joungsouk".
Bob Myers: This is just wrong. Why would you write something you know nothing about? Seoul is pronounced "soul" in English but certainly not in Korean; "suh-ul" is probably the closest we can come, with the "uh" part being what's in question here.
maruseru: Oh, I'm so very sorry to offend your ego. Have I disturbed a discussion among the local demi-gods? So sorry. Henceforth I shall ask your permission to write something I might not know everything about. Would that be alright? Would you, as the authoritative voice here, lower yourself to explain how "suck", which is pronounced, as far as I dare to believe, like the german "sack", would be a close vowel sound for 석? Or how "uh", which I, in my limited understanding, associate mostly with "uh-uh", pronounced like the german "ah-ah", would be a vowel sound for ㅓ? Kindly enlighten this unworthy soul and forgive my impertinence on this subject.
Bill: English sock is closer to German sack. English suck is closer to German söck.
maruseru: Maybe the confusion is between American English and British English. British English "sock" is like German "sock"; American English "sock" does sound more like German "sack". NB: please no reprimand from Mr Myers; I'm from Austria and I've lived in London for five years. My knowledge of Korean is indeed limited; I've only taken the first semester course of Korean at the department of Koreanology at the University of Vienna, but I do hope that I've learned the pronounciation of the Korean characters.
Bob Myers: Sorry for getting your undies in a twist. If you know the pronunciation of the Korean characters, why would you say that the native pronunciation for Seoul is something like the English "soul"?
xela: The vowels in "sock" and "suck" can vary a lot depending on which part of England (or elsewhere) the speaker is from. One day I will learn how the international phonetic alphabet works, then I will be able to discuss these things without causing mass confusion.
Phelan: I would like to use this time to remind everyone to keep calm, and discuss rationally. Emotion and intention don't translate well in a written discussion, and could be very misinterpreted.
maruseru: (To BobMyers) Like I said, ㅓ to me sounds closer to how an English person would pronounce "soul" than to how an English person would pronounce "uh". But I see now that we're probably talking about different English dialects. Maybe we can agree that it sounds like the "aw" as in "thaw" - that, to me, sounds rather similar in both American and British English. But xela is right; the international phonetic alphabet would work better. To speakers of German, it's even more muddled: The sound is somewhere between "a" and "au", like an "au" with more rounded (pursed?) lips.
Bill: I am certainly no expert in Korean or Korean pronunciation. However, I attended the 4th International Conference on Baduk in Jeonju this past fall. The first spelling I saw for Jeonju was Junjoo, which is how it sounds to me. Incheon also sounds like Inchun. They do not sound anything like Jawnjoo and Inchawn.
maruseru: Hm, I just looked it up in Elementary Korean and they say the character they use for the phonetic transcription of ㅓ sounds like "aw" as in "thaw" or "uh" as in "uh-oh". Interesting. I'd have pronounced the latter differently, but then I'm not an English native speaker either. But we have "thaw" on good authority now. :) About the different pronounciations - I guess there are different accents and dialects in Korea as well, so the vowel could be pronounced differently in different parts of Korea.
Anyway, they use ɔ as the phonetic transcription for ㅓ; there is a Wikipedia article on the International Phonetic Alphabet that has a vowel chart that shows how the tongue should be positioned for this vowel to form.
Bill: Thanks, maruseru. :-) That's very helpful. As for the aw/uh difference, it is not uncommon for the same vowel (phoneme) to be pronounced somewhat differently in different contexts. It may be that before n or ng the uh variant predominates, and before k or another vowel the aw variant predominates. Maybe the closest English is something like jung-sock.
(Later.) Wikipedia gives ʌ for eo; i. e., open-mid back unrounded, not rounded. It also says that for most speakers, the long form is əː instead of ʌ: . That explains the uh.