19 – We’re All In The Same Gang 同

(Originally published October 2014)

Many other Korean words related to something being the same or similar have the sound 동 (‘Dong’ – pronounced with a long “o”, like the “o” in “tone”) in them. This sound comes from the Chinese character同which means ‘Same’.


The word for “at the same time” is 동시 (同時 – ‘Dong-shi’). The first syllable 동 (‘Dong’) means “Same” and the second syllable 시 (時 – ‘Shi’) means ‘time’. When the two syllables are combined you get a word that literally means ‘same-time’.

Example sentence:

You’re trying to do too many things at one time.

너는 동시에 너무 많은 일을 하려고 한다

“Neo-neun Dong-shi-Ae Neo-mu Man-eun Il-eul Ha-ryeo-go Han-da”

The Korean word for ‘co-worker’ or ‘colleague’ is 동료 (同僚 ‘Dong-Yo’). This first syllable 동 (‘Dong’) of course means ‘same’, and the second syllable 료 (‘ryo’) means ‘colleague’.

Example Sentence:

He eats with his co-workers every day.

그는 매일 동료들과 점심을 먹는다.

“Geu-neun Mae-il Dong-yo-deul-gwa jeom-shim-eul meok-neun-da.”

The Korean word for ‘younger sibling’ is 동생 (同生 ‘Dong-seng’). The second character in this word, 생 (‘Seng’) means ‘life’, so the word for younger sibling literally means ‘same life’. To say ‘younger brother’ you would add the sound ‘남’ (男 – ‘nam’) which means ‘man’ to the front to get 남동생 (‘nam-dong-seng’). To make ‘little sister’ you would add the sound 여 (女 – ‘Yeo’) which means ‘woman’ to front to make 여동생 (‘Yeo-dong-seng’).

The word 동의 (同意 ‘Dong-Wi’) means agree. The first syllable means ‘same’ and the second syllable, 의 (‘wi’) means ‘thought’ or ‘idea’. So in Korean to agree to something literally means to be the same in thought or the same in idea.

Example Sentence:

I don’t agree with what you said.

저는 당신 말에 동의하지 않습니다.

“Jeo-neun Dang-shin Mal-aeh Dong-wi Ha-ji Anh-seub-ni-da.”

Our final word is 동행 (同行 – ‘Dong-heng’) which means “accompany, go with”. The first syllable means ‘same’, and the second syllable, 행 (‘heng’) means ‘Go, walk, travel’.

Example sentence:

Children must be accompanied by an adult.

아동은 반드시 성인이 동행해야 한다.

“Ah-dong-Eun Ban-deu-shi Seong-In-Ee Dong-Heng Hae-ya Han-da.”

Before I finish I would like to say hello and thanks for reading to James from the Korean Film Festival!

Have a word or character that you would like to know more about? Send your questions and comments to newhanja@gmail.com


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