Originally published August 2017
This month we are going to look at the character 事 which means event, occurrence, or thing that happened. This character is pronounced 사 (“Sa”) 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 기사 (記事 – “Gi-sa”) means article (like a news article, or this article that you are reading right now. The first character 記 (기- “Gi”) means record or document. The second character 事 (사 – “Sa”) means event, thing that happened. When the two characters are combined, the word 기사 (記事 – “Gi-sa”) literally means ‘a record of something that happened’.
나는 신문의 모든 기사를 읽었다.
(“Na-neun Shil-mun-ui Mo-deun Gi-sa-reul Ilg-eot-da”)
I read all the articles in the newspaper.
Another example is the word 식사 (食事 – “Shik-sa”) which means meal. The fist character 食 (식 – “Shik”) means meal or food, and the second character 事 (사 – “Sa”) means event. So 식사 (食事 – “Shik-sa”) literally means ‘meal-event’ or the act of eating a meal.
저녁식사로 우리 뭘 먹을까?
(“Jeon-nyeok Shik-sa-ro U-ri Mwol Meok-eul-kka”)
What should we do for dinner?
The word 사무 (事務 – “Sa-mu”) means office work. The first character 事 (사 – “Sa”) means event, thing that happened. The second character 務 (무 – “Mu”) means strive or make an effort. So this word has the meaning of the act of making things happen. If you add the character for place (所 – 소 – “So”) to the end you get 사무소 (事務所 – “Sa-mu-so”) which literally means ‘office-place’ or the place where everybody is working. Once you reach management level you might get to move into your own 사무실 (事務室 – “Sa-mu-shil”) which is an office room. We get this word by adding the character for room (室 – 실 – “Shil”) to the end of 사무 (事務 – “Sa-mu”).
The word 사실 (事實 – “Sa-shil”) means truth, fact. The first character 事 (사 – “Sa”) means event, thing that happened. The second character 實 (실 – “Shil”) means real or true. When combined, the word 사실 (事實 – “Sa-shil”) literally means ‘something that really happened’.
그녀가 사실을 말한다고 생각하세요?
“Geu-nyeo-ga Sa-shil-eul Mal-han-da-to Seng-gak Ha-se-yo”)
Do you think she’s telling the truth?
Here are some other very common words that use the character 事 (사 – “Sa”)
군사 (軍事 – “Gun-sa”): The military
공사 (工事 – “Gong-sa”): Construction
농사 (農事 – “Nong-sa”): Farming, agriculture
무사하다 (無事 – “Mu-sa-ha-da”): safe (and sound), intact, unharmed
사고 (事故 – “Sa-go”): An accident
This month’s article was written on my 41st birthday, from a room in beautiful Cambria, California where I am on a road trip with my family!