64 – 行 – Let’s Go “Haeng” Out

(Originally published June 2018)

 

Hanja Time Go Heng

This month we are going to look at the character 行 which has a variety of meanings which have evolved over time. It originally meant ‘go’ or ‘move’, it also came to mean ‘carry out’, ‘perform’, and ‘behavior’. All meaning imply some sort of action. The character was originally a pictograph of a crossroads:

heng pictograph

This character is pronounced 행 (romanized as “Haeng” but sounds like the English word ‘Hang’) in Korean. Many common Korean words use this character, and learning the meaning of the character can help you remember these vocabulary words.

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63 – 合 – A Perfect Combination

(Originally publish April 2018)

Hanja Time Hap Combine

This month we are going to look at the character 合 which means ‘combine, join, or come together’ and is pronounced 합 (romanized as “Hap” but sounds like the English word ‘Hop’) in Korean. The original pictograph form of 合 is thought to represent a lid covering some type of dish, suggesting a lid and dish ‘coming together’. Many common Korean words use this character, and learning the meaning of the character can help you remember these vocabulary words.

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62 – 間 – “Gan” With the Wind

(Originally published April 2018)

 

Hanja Gan Interval Between

This month we are going to look at the character 間 which means ‘between’, ‘among’, ‘a moment’, or ‘interval’ and is pronounced 간 (romanized as “Gan” but sounds like the English word ‘gone’) in Korean. The character 間 is a combination of the character for door 門 and the character for sun 日 , meaning the gap in a door through which sunlight can be seen. This gives it the meaning of ‘between’ and then ‘interval’.

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61 – 出 – Come Out

(Originally published February 2018)

 

hanja come out chul

This month we are going to look at the character 出 which means ‘come or go out’ and is pronounced 출 (“Chul”) in Korean. Ancient versions of this character showed a pictograph of a foot with a line underneath it, perhaps suggesting a shoe, meaning ready to go out, or it was meant to show a foot coming out of a cave. From the original meaning of ‘come out’ it also came to have the similar meaning of ‘appear’ or ‘emerge’ and then ‘produce’ or ‘create’. We will see examples of these different meanings in the vocabulary words below.

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60 – 金 – Kim’s Gold on Friday

Hanja Time – February 2018 – “Kim’s Gold on Friday”

 

Hanja Gold Gum

The most popular last name in Korea is 김 (Kim). In fact 22% of the population of Korea have this last name. The last name 김 (Kim) comes from the Hanja character 金 which means ‘gold’ and is usually pronounced 금(“geum”). Over time it has also taken the meaning of ‘money’. Many common Korean words have this character in them, and learning the meaning of this character will help you remember these words.

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59 – 水 – Watered Down Hanja

Originally published January 2018

This month we are going to look at the character 水 which is pronounced 수(“Su”) in Korean and which means ‘water’. Many common Korean words have this character in them, and learning the meaning of this character will help you remember these words.

Hanja Su Water

For example the word 향수 (香水 – “Hyang-su”) means perfume or cologne.
The first part of the word 향 (香 – “Hyang”) means ‘fragrance’ and the second part 수 (水 – “Su”) means ‘water’. Together the combined word literally means “fragrance-water”.

Example Sentence:
어떤 향수를 쓰세요?
(“Eo-ddeon Hyang-hu-reul Sseu-se-yo?”)
What kind of perfume do you wear?

The word 음료수 (飮料水 – “Eum-ryo-su”) means drink or beverage. The first part of the word 음 (飮 – “Eum”) means ‘drink’. The second part of the word 료 (料 – “Ryo”) means ‘ingredient’ and the final part 수 (水 – “Su”) means ‘water’.

Example Sentence:
음료수 드시겠습니까?
(“Eum-ryo-su Deu-shi-gess-seub-ni-gga?”)
Would you like something to drink?

The word 수영 (水泳 – “Su-yeong”) means swimming. The first part 수 (水 – “Su”) means water and the second part 영 (泳 – “Yeong”) means ‘to swim’.

Example Sentence:
수영 잘 하세요?
(“Su-yeong Jal Ha-se-yo?”)
Do you swim well?

The word 호수 (湖水 – “Ho-su”) means lake. The first part of the word 호 (湖 – “Ho”) means ‘lake’ and the second part 수 (水 – “Su”) means ‘water’.

Example Sentence:
남자가 호수에서 수영하고 있다.
(“Nam-ja-ga Ho-su E-seo Su-yeong Ha-go Iss-da”)
The man is swimming in the lake.

The word 수준 (水準 – “Su-jun”) means ‘level’ or ‘standard’. The first part 수 (水 – “Su”) means ‘water’ and the second part 준 (準 – ‘Jun’) means ‘standard’ or ‘criteria’. This word originally referred to measuring the water level (like of a river) but eventually came to mean ‘level’ or ‘standard’ in general.

Example Sentence:
그 사람 수준에 맞추기는 참 힘들다
(“Geu Sa-ram Su-jun-e Maj-chu-gi-neun Cham Him-deul-da”)
It’s tough to meet his standard.

Finally, the word 풍수(風水 – “Pung-su”) is a word that most westerners know from its Chinese pronunciation: Feng Shui. The first part 풍 (風 – “Pung”) means ‘wind’ and the second part 수 (水 – “Su”) means ‘water’. So Feng Shui literally “Wind+Water”. The use of Feng Shui in Korea dates back to the Three Kingdoms period where it was used to determine the location of houses, palaces, tombs, and even whole towns.

Example Sentence:
그는 풍수에 밝다
(“Geu-neun Pung-su-e Balk-da”)
He’s good at Feng Shui.

Here are some other common Korean words that use this character:

강수량 (降水量 – “Gang-su-ryang”): Amount of rainfall, precipitation
수도꼭지 (水道- – “Su-do-ggok-ji”): Faucet
수돗물 (水道- – “Su-dos-mul”): Tap water
수요일 (水曜日 – “Su-yo-il”): Wednesday
육수 (肉水 – “Yuk-su”) Meat broth
잠수함 (潛水艦 – “Jam-su-ham”): Submarine
홍수 (洪水 – “Hong-su”): Flood, deluge

I hope that learning the meaning of 수 (水 – “Su”) will make learning this vocabulary words easier.

58 – 年 – Five Years of Hanja Time!

In the winter 2012 Jini Shim announced that she was looking for people who wanted to write articles for the local Korean American Community Magazine, and in December of that year the very first Hanja time article was published. This month marks the five year anniversary, and to celebrate, we will look at the character 年 which means ‘year’ and can either be pronounced 년 (“Neon”) or 연 (“Yeon”), depending on the word, as we will see below.

hanja nyeon year

For example, the word 금년 (今年 – “Geum-nyeon”) means ‘this year’. The first character 今 (금 – “Geum”) means ‘now’, and the second character 年 (년 – “Nyeon”) means ‘year’. So together the word literally means ‘now-year’.

Similarly, the word 내년 (來年 – “Nae-nyeon”) means ‘next year’. The first character 來 (내 – “Nae”) means ‘next’ and the second character 年 (년 – “Nyeon”) means ‘year’.

The word 매년 (每年 – “Mae-nyeon”) means ‘every year’ or ‘annually’. The first character 每 (매 —“Mae”) means ‘every’, and once again the second character 年 (년 – “Nyeon”) means ‘year’.

The word 연말 (年末 – “Yeon-mal”) means ‘year-end’. Notice that this time the first character 年 is pronounced 연 (“Yeon”) rather than 년 (“Nyeon”). The second character in this word 末 (말 – “Mal”) means ‘end’.

The final word we will look at is 중년 (中年 – “Jung-nyeon”) which means ‘middle age, midlife’. The first character 中 (중 – “Jung”) means ‘middle’ and the second character 年 (년 – “Nyeon”) means year. Together, the word literally means “the middle years”.

Here are some other common words with the character 年 in them:

년도 (年度 – “Nyeon-do”): A year
년생 (年生 – “Nyeon-seng”): Year as in “3rd year” or “4th year”
소년 (少年 – “So-nyeon”): A boy
수년 (數年 – “Su-nyeon”): Several years
연간 (年間 – “Yeon-gan”): Annual
연세 (年歲 – “Yeon-se”): One’s age
작년 (昨年 – “Jak-nyeon”): Last year
재작년 (再昨年 – “Jae-jak-nyeon”): The year before last
청년 (靑年 – “Cheong-nyeon”): Young man, young people, youth
학년 (學年 – “Hak-nyeon”): Grade level, year

Before I finish I want to send a very warm thank you to Editor Seo (서 국장님) for continue to allow me to write this article and to Jini Shim, who proofreads the article every month (for five years!) and always manages to find at least one mistake! It has been an honor to work with you both and I hope that someday I can repay all of the kindness you have shown me.