13 – The Write Stuff 書

(Originally published February 2014)

This month we are going to talk about the character 書 which means ‘writing’. In Korean it is pronounced 서 (‘Suh’). Many Korean words relating to writing and letters have this sound in them.

writing01

The Korean word 보고 (報告) (‘Bo-go’) means ‘report’ as in ‘to report something to somebody.’ If you add the character for “writing” 서 (書) (‘Suh’) to the end then you get 보고서 (報告書) (‘Bo-go-suh’) which means ‘written report’.

Example Sentence:

Please turn to page 5 in your copy of the report.

보고서 5페이지를 펴세요.

The word 서점 (書店) (‘Suh-Jeom’) means ‘bookstore’. It is formed from our character for writing, 서 (書) (‘Suh’) , and the character for ‘store’, 점 (書) (‘Jeom’).

The word 서류 (書類) (‘Suh-ryu’) means ‘Document’. As you can see it has a similar meaning and also has서 (書) (‘Suh’) in it.

Example Sentence:

What documents do I need to bring with me?

어떤 서류들을 가져가야 하나요?

The word 교과 (敎科) (‘Gyo-gwa’) means ‘school subject, curriculum’. When we add 서 at the end we get the word for ‘textbook’, or 교과서 (‘Gyo-gwa-suh’).

The word 도서관 (圖書館) (‘Doh-suh-gwan’) means ‘library’ and is a combination of the characters ‘Picture + writing + house’.

I hope the next time you see one of these words you will remember that 서 means ‘writing’ and it will be easier to remember!

Are there any Korean words that you would like to know more about? Email me at newhanja@gmail.com

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