55 – 少 – Looking for a few good Hanja

This month we are going to look at the character 少 which means few, or small in number. It can also mean young. This character is pronounced 소 (“So”) in Korean. This character can be found in many Korean words, and knowing its meaning will help you learn these words.

Hanja So Few

For example, the word 감소 (減少 – “Gam-so”) means decrease or reduction. The first character 減 (감 – “Gam”) means reduce or lessen, and the second character 少 (소 – “So”) means few. When put together the word literally means ‘reduce-few’. If you add 하다 (“Ha-da”) you can make the verb 감소 하다 (“Gam-so Ha-da”) which means to decrease.

Example:
교통사고 건수가 극적으로 감소했다.
(“Gyo-tong-sa-go Geon-su-ga Geuk-jeok-eu-ro Gam-so Het-da”)
The number of traffic accidents has dramatically decreased.

The word 사소 (些少 – “Sa-so”) means trivial, minor, or insignificant. The first character 些 (사 – “Sa”) means little, and the second character 少 (소 – “So”) means few.

Example:
그런 사소한 일에 신경 쓰지 마라
(“Geu-reon Sa-so-han Il-ae Shin-gyeong Sseu-ji Ma-ra”)
Don’t worry over such minor details.

The word 다소 (多少 – “Da-so”) means somewhat or a little. The first character 多 (다 – “Da”) oddly means many and the second character 少 (소 – “So”) means few. It seems odd that the combined word ‘many-few’ means a little.

Example:
그는 나이 들고 다소 허약하다.
(“Geu-neun Na-i Deul-go Da-so Heo-yak Ha-da”)
He is old and somewhat frail.

 

The word 소녀 (少女 – “So-nyeo”) means young girl. The first character 少 (소 – “So”) means few, or in this case young. The second character 女 (녀 – “Nyeo”) means woman. You may recognize this word from the name of the k-pop girl group 소녀시대 (“So-nyeo Shi-dae”) or Girls Generation.

Example:
카밀은 깜찍한 소녀였다
(“Ka-mil-eun Kkam-jjik-han So-nyeo Yeot-da”)
Camille was a cute little girl.

Similarly the word 소년 (少年 – “So-nyeon”) means young boy. The first character 少 (소 – “So”) means few, or young. The second character 年 (년- “Nyeon”) means year.

Example:
그 소년은 매우 내성적이다
(“Geu So-nyeon-eun Mae-u Nae-seong-jeok I-da”)
The boy is highly introverted.

 

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