What Is Hanja App Used For

This is a quick guide to why you should acquire Hanja (Chinese characters), and where yous encounter hanja in modernistic Korean in everyday life.

Having previously studied Chinese (and learned over two,500 characters through a lot of report supplanted by Skritter), I have ever been curious about Chinese characters — known every bit hanja — in modern Korean.

Korean has been its own linguistic communication for many hundreds of years, and is definitely non a Chinese language, nor fifty-fifty in the same family as about Chinese languages.

In fact, the Hangul phonetic writing system has been in place for
v centuries. Credit for the invention was given to Male monarch Sejong the Great, who invented it in 1443.

(Annotation: I’g non a historian, simply I accept watched enough Korean historical dramas to get a sense that I’m pretty sure one of Rex Sejong the Great Delegator’southward minions did it for him. Still, he approved information technology, and that’southward expert.)

Despite Hangul’due south history, Chinese characters (known as Hanja, 한자)
still
play an important role in modern Korean. You lot can still see hanja in mod Korean in everyday life.

Hanja on a packet of ramen

In modern Korean culture, you can notwithstanding see Hanja used in

  • People’s names
  • Advertising and branding
  • Traditional saying

More item on all of this below.

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Quick Overview — What is “Hanja”?

Hanja means “Chinese character” in Korean.

The word hanja derived from the characters 汉字 (traditional: 漢字), pronounced
hàn

in Mandarin, and which simply means “Chinese characters” . In Korean, hanja is written 한자.

The discussion “hanja” is the same word equally “kanji” in Japanese. All three pronunciations — Hanja, Kanji, and
hàn
, all come from the same Chinese characters, 漢字.

In Chinese, each Chinese character has its own distinct meaning, and ordinarily just i pronunciation (there are notable known exceptions, because they decided to get in harder for us… well, for anybody).

In Korean, each character has one usual pronunciation besides, but in Japanese, each
kanji
commonly can be pronounced a couple of different ways (though one is ordinarily more common).

Hanja used to be the only style in which Korean was written earlier Hangul was devised every bit a writing organization in 1443. But fifty-fifty afterwards Hangul was invented, Hanja remained the primary mode in which Korean was written until the turn of the 20th century.

Hanja in People’s Names

The vast majority of Korean names accept roots in Chinese characters.

For example, Ban Ki Moon, onetime Secretarial assistant-General of the Un, would accept written his proper noun in Korean as 반기문 (pronounced
ban gi-mun). The Hanja root is 潘基文, which in Mandarin is pronounced
pān​-jī-wén, and which means “Pan” (a common surname)-“Foundation”-“Civilisation”.

It’s unusual for a first proper name to not have a Hanja equivalent, and basically unheard of for a last name to non have a Hanja equivalent. Then names are one of the places you most commonly come across Hanja in modern Korean (at least in concept).

A few common Korean names with their Hanja equivalents are:

Korean name* Hangul Hanja Mandarin pronunciation (pinyin)
Kim 김,
gim
jīn
Park 박,
bak
piáo
Kang 강,
kang
姜, 江, 剛, 康, 強/彊 jiāng, gāng, kāng, qiáng
Lee 이,
I
Yoo 윤,
yun
líu
Jung zhèng
Some common Korean names and their associated
hanja
(Chinese graphic symbol)

* This is how these names are commonly written in the westward, predominantly in the US, UK, and Commonwealth of australia. Sometimes the pure Hangul equivalent is used.

** The Korean surname Kang may be derived from any of these Chinese characters. Some of them are simply “surnames” and their meaning is non significant (e.g. 江 happens to mean “river”, but people think of it by and large as a surname, similar Smith once was associated with blacksmiths, goldsmiths etc.), and some of the characters take a relationship with health or forcefulness.

Merely from the above, you tin run across that i Korean proper noun tin can have
multiple equivalents in Hanja.
You can always ask which Hanja someone’s proper name is derived from, though the reply might be a trivial complicated to understand if it’s a conceptual word.

That’south just surnames —
first names
are too equanimous on Hanja. The list is longer though and not worth reproducing here.

Merely any time you meet a Korean, you can inquire them if they know the Hanja for their proper name. They may not be able to write it with a pen, but they’ll probably be able to show y’all somewhere.

Hanja in Ad and Branding

Popular brands might use a Hanja character as part of their logo or packaging.

For instance, Shin Ramyun noodles, the virtually popular kind of instant noodles in Korea, have a 辛 character on the front. In Mandarin Chinese, information technology’s pronounced
xīn
and is an old graphic symbol for “hot” as in “spicy”. Meet the image at the tiptop of this postal service.

Another example is Sulwhasoo. This well-known make of Korean cosmetics uses the iii characters behind its name as its logo. The characters 雪花秀 mean “snow-blossom-refined/elegant”.

Sulwhasoo logo with Hanja (Chinese) characters 雪花秀
Sulwhasoo logo

These are somewhat exceptional examples. In modern Due south Korean culture, English names and characters are vastly more common in brands and signs.

Hanja in Signs

Hanja chinese characters on road signs and place signs in Korea
Some signs in Hanja too as Hangul. Source: Quora

One time you visit Korea you might be surprised to run into Hanja in many common street size and signs for places.

One traditional reason for using Hanja in signs this is disambiguation. Technically, the pure Hangul name for a location doesn’t give enough information for you to know what it is. Usually, context is enough. But Hanja is used out of convention to make it clear what the place is.

Some other reason for Hanja in signs in Korea is because the Hanja is rich with meaning. For example, in the sign above 개화 is simply a proper name, merely if you know the hanja is 開花, you’d understand the name every bit “blossoming flower” — quite a pretty image, imbued with metaphorical meaning.

Hanja in Symbological Employ

In that location are a few Hanja that are used symbolically in everyday life in Korea. You typically see them in signs, menus, and newspapers.

For case, when ordering a coffee or a portion of nutrient that comes in various sizes, you might see the Hanja 大, 中, 小 (big, medium, small-scale) adjacent to the sizes on the carte du jour. It’s a bit like how you might see “XS, S, Thousand, L, XL, XXL” on clothing labels or sizes of coffee cups.

On toilets, you lot may see the characters for female and male (女,男) aslope the universal symbols.

hanja on toilets in korea with symbols for man and woman

In calendars and on dates, you lot might come across the symbols 月 and 日 for month and day.

For countries, in newspapers, y’all might run across the Hanja representation of country names:

  • 韓 = Korea
  • 中 = Mainland china
  • 日 = Japan (yes, this also means twenty-four hours, if you were paying attention above! It means “sun” and is the first character of 日本, Japan)
  • 美 = America
  • 澳 = Australia (I oasis’t seen this myself, simply I’thousand waiting for the day)

All of these aren’t for Chinese (or Japanese) tourists — they’re just convention.

Hanja in Traditional Sayings (사자성어)

While watching Korean Dramas, occasionally a character volition say something profound while raising his paw, a classic indication that they’re referring to an aboriginal idiom.

Old idioms have their roots in Chinese, and are but repeated in Korean phonetically — they don’t translate hands.

For instance, 인산인해 (in san in hae), which is derived from 人山人海 (rénshānrénhǎi), ways “people everywhere”. If yous were to translate 인산인해 in Google Translate, you’d become a gibberish answer.

–> Hither are some tips to meliorate acquire how to acquire languages using Google Translate.

There’south a whole class of idioms that come from Chinese and are known every bit “four-character idioms”. In Korean it’s written 사자성어 (sa ja seong-eo), which is derived from 四字成語, in Mandarin pronounced
sì zì chéngyǔ, or “four character idioms”.

In Chinese, four-character idioms are just known as
chéngyǔ, 成語, and a few of them are mentioned on our page of applied Chinese idioms.

This is a whole other topic — only at to the lowest degree a few commonly-used
sa ja seong-eo
are worth mentioning hither.

  • 작심삼일 (作心三日): Means “the middle is made for three days”, and is used to refer to people who have problem sticking with their plans.
  • 자업자득 (自業自得): Means “You reap what you sow”, or that you lot get what you have coming to you through your own efforts
  • 동문서답 (東問西答): Ways “A question from the east; an reply from the west”, or an irrelevant answer. The Hangul is actually relatively meaningful in this case.
  • 설상가상 (雪上加霜): Means “to add together frost to snowfall”, or to make an already bad situation worse.

In Chinese, these aren’t really sentences. They’re more conceptual. You use them in much the same mode as yous’d say in English “Well, isn’t that just adding fuel to the fire?” — you take to add some padding words. Information technology’due south the aforementioned in Korean.

Source: https://discoverdiscomfort.com/hanja-in-modern-korean/