Kicking it up a notch with 漢子 (Chinese Characters)

November 12, 2007 at 9:40 pm 4 comments

In some respects, Korean is the easy way out when studying an Asian language. Chinese has those dreaded “tones” which for a non-musical guy like me are really scary. Then there are the thousands of pictograph characters that must be learned. They aren’t letters. Japanese also makes use of the Chinese characters in a major way. Japanese is further complicated by having 2 completely different “alphabets” that are mixed along with the Chinese characters.

To the untrained eye, a Korean sentence like “제가 사과를 좋아해요” (I like apples) looks incredibly daunting, it really isn’t. Chinese and Japanese have a huge barrier to being able to read. Let me betray a secret of Korean: Learning to “read” is really quite easy. Understanding what you read is of course another matter….as it is in any second language. But in Korean, because the reading barrier is so low, one can easy move on to meaning, and the arch nemesis of grammar!

In middle school I studied Latin, which according to Mr. Dare (yes, that is really his name) is responsible for some 65% of English words. So, knowing Latin can really help improve your English vocabulary. Of course Greek also influences English, especially in science and medicine.

The relationship is similar between Korean and Chinese. 70% of Korean is derived from Chinese, and therefore, understanding some basic Chinese characters can really improve your Korean vocabulary. So I’ve bought a new book aimed at helping foreign learners of Korean master 500 of the most common and useful 漢子 in Korean.

You probably aren’t as excited about this as I am, but that’s OK… this is my blog after all.


Entry filed under: Korean, Language.

Expect something… I might just be nuts..

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. 선현우  |  November 13, 2007 at 7:03 am

    I’m glad you’ve got yourself such a book – it will really help your Korean vocabulary grow 200% larger!!

  • 2. teeth  |  November 13, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    You changed it back to white! i like your Korean pics too…anyway i also bought a hanja book for myself at kyobo last week! writing chinese is more difficult but also more fun…

  • 3. joseph  |  January 22, 2008 at 12:34 am

    same as with latin, knowing the roots is not necessary but can help a bit.

  • 4. 세은  |  February 16, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Hello 🙂

    I’m native Korean 세은 and while surfing the ‘’ 우연히 이 곳을 방문하게 되었어요~

    영어를 잘 못해서 앞 문장을 영어로 시작했지만 한국어로 끝냈네요…
    (As I’m not that good at English, the previous sentence started in English but finished in Korean…)

    Anyway the reason I commet here is I would like to say you this, regarding of “제가 사과를 좋아해요” (I like apples) on the 2nd paragraph:
    I think “저는 사과를 좋아해요.” is better translation for “I like apples.” Because, “제가 사과를 좋아해요.” has the meanning of comparison, so it means “Not others but ‘I’ like apples.” or “I like ‘Apples’ not oranges.”

    은/는 and 이/가 are one of very confusing things.


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