30 – 市 – Rep Your City

(Published September 2015)

This month we are going to take a look at a character 市 which means ‘market’ or ‘city’. In Korean this character is pronounced 시 (sound like the English word “she” but generally written phonetically as “si”). Many Korean words relating to cities or markets will have this sound in them.

city01

For example, the Korean word for ‘marketplace’ is 시장 (市場 – “Si-Jang”). The word is made up of two syllables which come from Chinese characters. The first syllable 시 (“Si”) is this month’s character 市 which means ‘market’. The second syllable 장 (場 – “Jang”) means ‘place’. So 시장 (“Si-jang”) literally means ‘market-place’.

Two famous markets in Korea are the 남대문시장 (南大門市場 – “Nam-Dae-Mun Si-Jang”) which is the Great South Gate Market and 동대문시장 (東大門市場 – “Dong-Dae-Mun Si-Jang) which is the Great East Gate Market. Seoul used to be a walled city with four giant gates. These bustling markets are located where the old east and south gates stood.

The other meaning of 市 (시-“Si”) is ‘city’. When writing an address you would put 시 (“Si”) at the end of the city name. Addresses in Korea are written in the order Province/City/District/Neighborhood/Street Number. For example the address of the Naver Corporation is:

경기도 – Gyeon-gi-de (Province)

성남시 – Seong-nam-si (City)

분당구 – Bun-dang-gu (District)

정자동 – Jeong-ja-dong Neighborhood

178-1 NAVER 그린팩토리- NAVER Green Factory, 178-1

The Korean word for a city in general is 도시 (都市 – “Do-si”). If you add the Chinese character 大 (대- “Dae”, meaning ‘big’) to it you get the word 대도시 (大都市 – “Dae-Do-Si”) which means ‘large city’, or ‘metropolis’.

The word 시내 (市內 – “Si-Nae”) means ‘downtown’. The first part of this word 시 (市 – “Si”) means ‘city’ and the second part 내 (內 – “Nae”) means ‘inside’ or ‘inner’. So the word 시내 (“Si-Nae”) literally means ‘inside the city’. If you were to replace ‘inner’ with ‘outer’ you would get the word 시외 (市外 – “Si-Woi”) which literally means ‘outside the city’ and refers to the countryside.

The Korean word for ‘mayor’ is 시장 (市長 – ‘Si-jang’). In this word the second syllable 장 (長 – “Jang”) means ‘boss’, so the word for mayor literally means ‘city boss’.

The Korean word for ‘City Hall’ is 시청 (市廳 – “Si-Cheong”) which is just the character for ‘city’ plus廳 (청 – “Cheong”) which means ‘hall’.

I hope that knowing what 시 (市 – “Si”) 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 also you can now find all of the previous Hanja Time articles online at hanjatime.wordpress.com.

Finally, this September I would like to welcome back all the kids at Barnard Elementary School, especially my kids Harrison (2nd Grade) and Camille (Kindergarten)! Have a great year!

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