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.
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”.
“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.
“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!
“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.
“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!