46 – 活 – It’s A Living

Originally published December 2016

This month we are going to look at the character 活 which means living. This character is pronounced 활 (“Hwal”) in Korean and can be found in many Korean words related to living. Knowing the meaning of this character will help you learn these words.

hanja-hwal-living

For example, the Korean word 생활 (生活 – “Seng-Hwal”) means life or living, not in the sense of life as in ‘living organisms’, but life as into ‘live a good life’. The first character 生 (생 – “Seng”) means life. The second character 活 (활 – “Hwal”) means living. The meaning of each character is very similar, so when combined the word literally means “Life-Living”.

Example sentence:

저는지금제생활에만족합니다

“Jeon-neun Ji-geum Jae Seng-Hwal-Ae Man-Jok Hab-Ni-Da”

I’m content with my life right now.

The word 활기 (活氣 – “Hwal-Gi”) means energy, vitality, life, or vigor, as in the phrase “She is just so full of life!” or “He’s just so full of energy!” The first character 活 (활 – “Hwal”) means living and the second character 氣 (기 – “Gi”) means spirit or energy.

Example sentence:

파티는노래로활기를띠었다.

“Pa-To-Neun No-Rae-Ru Hwal-Gi-Reul Ddi-Eod-Da”

The party was enlivened with songs.

The word 재활용 (再活用 – “Jae-Hwal-Yong”) means recycle. The first character 再 (재 – “Jae”) means twice. The second character 活 (활 – “Hwal”) means living, and the third character 用 (용 – “Yong”) means use.  Together it literally means “twice-living-use”- in other words you give something a second life by using it again.  I may be reading to poetically into it, but I think it’s a nice thought!

Example sentence:

알루미늄깡통은쉽게재활용할수있다

“Al-Lu-Mi-Nyum Ggang-Tong-Eun Suib-Gae Jae-Hwal-Yong Hal-Su Id-Da”

Aluminum cans can be recycled easily.

Finally, the word 활동 (活動 – Hwal-Dong) means action or activity. The first character 活 (활 – “Hwal”) means living and the second character 動 (동- “Dong”) means to move.

Example sentence:

원예는내가가장좋아하는활동이야.

“Wuon-Yeh-Neun Nae-Ga Ga-Jang Joh-Ah-Ha-Neun Hwal-Dong I-Ya”

Gardening is my favorite activity.

Have a word or character that you would like to know more about?  Leave a comment in the comment box!

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