Originally published July 2017
This month we are going to look at the character 文 which means writing or pattern. This character is pronounced 문 (generally anglicized as “Mun” but sounds like “moon”) in Korean. This character can be found in many Korean words, and knowing its meaning will help you learn these words.
For example, the word 문법 (文法– “Mun-beop”) means grammar. The first character 文 (문 – “Mun”) means writing and the second character 法 (법 – “Beop”) means rules or law. Together they mean “writing-rules” which is a pretty good definition of grammar.
현주는 문법을 암기했다.
(“Hyun-Joo-neun Mun-beop Eul Am-gi Het-da.”)
Hyun Joo learned the grammar rules by heart.
The word 문학 (文學 – “Mun-hak”) means literature. The first character 文 (문 – “Mun”) means writing and the second character 學 (학 – “Hak”) means to learn or to study. Together they mean “the study of writing” or maybe “learned-writing”.
헥터는 문학 석사학위를 가지고 있다.
(“Haek-teo-neun Mun-hak Seok-sa-hak-wi-reul Ga-ji-go It-da”)
Hector’s master’s degree is in literature.
The word 논문 (論文 – “Non-mun”) means thesis. The first character 論 (논 – “Non”) means debate or discuss, the second character 文 (문 – “Mun”) means writing. When you write a thesis you are discussing something or making an argument about something in writing.
(“Non-mun-eun Tong-gwa Dwess-eo-yo?)
Did your thesis get approved?
The word 문구 (文句 – “Mun-gu”) means phrase, or expression. The first character 文 (문 – “Mun”) means writing and the second character 句 (구- “Gu”) means phrase.
당신은 매우 재미있는 문구를 사용했다.
(“Dang-shin-eun Mae-u Jae-mi Iss-neun Mun-gu-reul Sa-yong Hess-da”)
You used a very interesting phrase.
The word 문서 (文書 – “Mun-seo”) means document or papers. The first character 文 (문 – “Mun”) means writing and the second character 書(서- “Seo”) means document.
그 문서에 서명했다.
(“Geu Mun-seu-ae Seo-myeong Hess-da”)
I put my signature on the document.
Here are some other common words that use the character 文 (문 – “Mun”):
문자 (文字 – “Mun-ja”): Letter, character
문장 (文章 – “Mun-jang”): Sentence
문화 (文化 – “Mun-hwa): Culture
주문 (呪文 – “Ju-mun”): A spell, incantation
주문 (注文 – “Ju-mun”): An order, to order something
한문 (漢文 – “Han-mun”): Chinese writing
I hope that learning the character 文 (문 – “Mun”) will make remembering all these different vocabulary words easier!