26 – Move! 動

(Originally published May 2015)

The character 動 in Korean is pronounced 동 (“Dong”- with a long “o” like ‘bone’) and means ‘move’ or ‘movement’.

move01

For example, the word 자동 (自動 – “Ja-Dong”) means ‘automatic’. It is a compound word made up of 자 (自 – “Ja”) meaning ‘self’, and 동 (動 – “Dong”) which means ‘move’. So the Korean word 자동 (“Ja-Dong”) literally means ‘Self-Moving’. If you add the character for ‘cart’ (車 – 차 – “Cha”) at the end you get 자동차 (自動車 – “Ja-Dong-Cha”) or ‘self-moving-cart’, which is the Korean word for car!

The Korean word for something that is ‘emotionally moving’ is 감동 (感動 – “Gam-Dong”). The first sound 감 (感 – “Gam”) means ‘emotion’ or ‘feeling’. The second sound 동 (動 – “Dong”) means ‘move’, so the combined word 감동 (“Gam-Dong”) literally means ‘emotion-moving’.

The Korean word for ‘animal’ is 동물 (動物 – “Dong-Mul”). The first syllable 동 (動 – “Dong”) means ‘moving’, and the second syllable 물 (物 – “Mul”) means ‘thing’. So the Korean word for animal literally means ‘moving-thing’. If you add the character 園 (원 “Won”) which means ‘park’ to the end of 동물 (動物 – “Dong-Mul”) you get 동물원 (動物園 – “Dong-Mul-Won”) which literally means “Animal-Park” and is the Korean word for ‘zoo’.

Here are some more common Korean words with the character 동 (動 – “Dong”):

진동 (振動 – “Jin-Dong”): vibration , vibrate

노동 (勞動 – “No-Dong”): labor, work

능동적 (能動的 – “Neung-Dong-Jeok”): active

동기 (動機 – “Dong-Gi”): Motive

부동산 (不動産 – “Bu-Dong-San”): Real estate

운동 (運動 – “Un-Dong”): Exercise

행동 (行動 – “Heng-Dong”): act, action, behavior

활동 (活動 – “Hwal-Dong”): activity

I hope that knowing what 동 (“Dong”) means makes learning these vocabulary words easier. Have a word or character that you would like to know more about? Send your questions and comments to newhanja@gmail.com. And I would like to wish a Happy Birthday to my 장모님. 생일 축하합니다!!!

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