38 – 地 – The Salt Of The Earth

(Originally published April 2016)

This month we are going to look at the character 地 which means earth or soil and is pronounced 지 (“Ji”) in Korean.  This character can be found in many common Korean words, and knowing the meaning will help you learn these words.

Hanja Time Earth

The Korean word for the planet earth itself is 지구 (地球 – “Ji-gu”). The first character 地 (지 – “Ji”) means earth, and the second character 球 (구 – “Gu”) means ball.  So 지구 (地球 – “Ji-Gu”) literally means ‘earth-ball’ (which I love).

The Korean word for map or chart is 지도 (地圖 – “Ji-do”).  The first character 地 (지 – “Ji”) again means earth and the second character 圖 (도 – “Do”) means drawing. When combined the word 지도 (地圖 – “Ji-do”) literally means ‘earth-drawing’.

The word 지진 (地震 – “Ji-jin”) means earthquake.  Just like our previous examples the first character 地 (지 – “Ji”) means earth.  The second character 震 (진 – “Jin”) means shake, quake, or tremor.  Just like in English 지진 (地震 – “Ji-jin”) literally means “earth-quake”.

The Korean word for subway is 지하철 (地下鐵 – “Ji-ha-cheol”).  Again the first character 地 (지 – “Ji”) means earth. The second character 下 (하 – “Ha”) means under. The third character 철 (鐵 – “Cheol”) means iron or metal in general, and in this case refers to the train rails.  Together the characters in 지하철 (地下鐵 – “Ji-ha-cheol”) mean “Earth-Under Rails”.

Here are some other common Korean words with the character 地 (지 – “Ji”) in them:

관광지 (觀光地 – “Gwan-gwang-ji”): Tourist attraction[spot], the sights

번지 (番地 – “Beon-ji”): House number, street address

지구 (地區 – “Ji-gu”): District, zone, area

지대 (地帶 – “Ji-dae”): Zone, area, region, belt

지방 (地方 – “Ji-bang”): Area, region,(시골) the country(side)

지역 (地域 – “Ji-yeok”): Area, region, district, zone

지위 (地位 – “Ji-wi”): Status, position, rank, standing

지점 (地點 – “Ji-jeom”): Point, spot, place

현지 (現地 – “Hyun-ji”): Local, on-site. In the field

Have a word or character that you would like to know more about?  Leave a question or comment in the comments.

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