Originally Posted by mnlaxer
Nuruk...pronounced noo-roo according to the people at the Korean Marketplace
Very close. Let me give you more information than you want to know, but it will help you when you ask for it ... sometimes accents keep us from being understood (boy do I know THAT one well).
Nuruk is one transliteration of it. You may also see it written as nuluk, noorook, or noolook. The "k" sound at the end is definitely there and pronounced, though. The reason for the different spellings is:
In Hangul (the Korean alphabet) this is written as: 누룩. There are no silent letters there. The 'ㄹ' is what is transliterated as "r" or "l". But in Korean, there is no equivalent sound to the English r or l sounds. The actual sound of that letter is somewhere between an English r and l, and it varies slightly depending on what part of Korea the person comes from. The closest equivalent sound I can think of is the Spanish 'r.' The 'ㅜ' is the vowel in both syllables and is a long 'U.' However; when it is transliterated as "nuruk," English speakers tend to apply English pronunciation rules to it and make the 'u' short ... that will probably not be understood by native Korean speakers if you pronounce it like that. To avoid that problem, sometimes, people break the old rules of transliteration and use 'oo' in place of 'u' when transliterating 'ㅜ', and then use u when transliterating a couple of other vowels that sound closer to a short 'u.'
So the pronunciation will be like "noo rook" where you touch your tongue to the top of your mouth when you pronounce the 'r' in that.
Like I said, more than you wanted to know. If you're concerned about not being understood, then print out the "누룩" when you ask for it in a Korean market. That will eliminate any confusion