(Originally publish April 2018)
This month we are going to look at the character 合 which means ‘combine, join, or come together’ and is pronounced 합 (romanized as “Hap” but sounds like the English word ‘Hop’) in Korean. The original pictograph form of 合 is thought to represent a lid covering some type of dish, suggesting a lid and dish ‘coming together’. Many common Korean words use this character, and learning the meaning of the character can help you remember these vocabulary words.
For example, the word 연합 (聯合 – “Yeon-hap”) means alliance, coalition, or union. The first part 연 (聯 – “Yeon”) means ‘to unit’. The second part 합 (合 – “Hap”) means ‘join’ or ‘come together’. So together the combined word literally means ‘to come together in unity’.
유럽연합에서는 27개의 국가들이 있다.
(“Yu-reop yeon-hap e-seo-neun 27-gae-ui gug-ga-deul-i It-da”)
There are 27 countries in the European Union.
The word 혼합 (混合 – “Hon-hap”) means mix or blend. The first part 혼 (混 – “Hon”) means ‘mix’ and the second part 합 (合 – “Hap”) means ‘join’ or ‘come together’. So the combined word literally means ‘mix-togehter’.
밀가루, 물, 달걀을 혼합해서 반죽을 만들었다.
“Mil-ga-ru, mul, dal-gyal-eul hon-hap hae-seo ban-juk-eul man-deul-eot-da”)
I made dough by mixing flour, water, and eggs.
The word 적합 (適合 – “Jeok-hap”) means suitable or appropriate. The first part 적 (適 – “Jeok”) means ‘fitting’ or ‘proper’ and the second part 합 (合 – “Hap”) means ‘join’ or ‘come together’.
그는 이 일에 적합하지 않다
“Geu-neun i il-e jeok-hap ha-ji anh-da”)
He is not fit for this job.
The word 합리적 (合理的 – “Ham-ni-jeok”) means rational, reasonable, or logical.
The first part 합 (合 – “Hap”) means ‘join’ or ‘come together, the second part 리(理 – “Li”) means logic or principle, and the third part 적 (的 – “jeok”) means to be of a certain type or characteristic. So it implies something which ‘has the characteristic of rationality’.
참 합리적인 사람이에요.
(“Cham ham-ni-jeok-in sa-ram i-ye-yo.”)
You are such a rational person.
The word 시합 (試合 – “Shi-hap”): means game, match, competition, or contest. The first part of the word, 시 (试 – “Shi”) means ‘try, test, trial, or experiment’, and the second part 합 (合 – “Hap”) means ‘join’ or ‘come together’. Although it uses Hanja (Chinese characters) this word isn’t used in China. It actually comes to Korea from Japan, and while it could mean ‘coming together to try or test (one’s skills)’, it is said that the characters were actually used phonetically, and chosen to represent the native Japanese word for game or contest.
시합은 무승부로 끝났다.
(“Shi-hap-eun my-seung-bu-ro kkeut-nat-da”)
The match ended in a draw.
I hope that learning the meaning of 合 (합 – “Hap”) will make learning these vocabulary words easier. Have a word or character that you would like to know more about? Send your questions and comments to email@example.com. And also you can now find all of the previous Hanja Time articles online at hanjatime.wordpress.com.