The Hanja (literally the characters Han , or Hanmun (; ), sometimes also called characters Sino-Korean S, are Chinese characters (Hanzi) used to write the Korean . They are natures borrowed by the Korean from the Chinese and whose pronunciation changed. Contrary to the Kanji Japanese of which some were modified and simplified, Hanja are almost identical to the traditional characters (Hanzi) of the traditional Chinese . However some Hanja characters are alternatives of the Hanzi also used Kanji .
One of the leading causes of the introduction of Hanja in Korea was the diffusion of the Bouddhisme. The Chinese characters were adapted to the Korean Grammaire. The principal text which introduces Korean Hanja was however not a religious text but the Cheonjamun . Hanja were the only means of writing Korean until the king Sejong Large the of Joseon promulgates the Han' gûl at the 15th century. However, even after the invention of the Han' gûl , the majority of the Korean well-read men continued to write with Hanja.
There were other systems, conceived earlier, in order to use the Chinese characters simplified for to transcribe phonetically Korean:
- Hyangch' Al (; ),
- Kugyôl (),
- Idu (; ).
But the majority of the Koreans were to know the Chinese arts person in order to be taught reading and writing.
The use of the hanja or the Han' gûl was the debate object many in South Korea: since 1948, a law encourages with the exclusive use of the Han' gûl but authorizes the hanja, while the minister of education seeks to replace the 60% of words of Chinese origin by Korean equivalents. In 1961, a plan envisaging the exclusive use of the Han' gûl had to be withdrawn in front of the opposition of the confucéens and many intellectuals according to whom Korea would have cut itself of its cultural roots (source: Patrick Maurus, " History of the literature coréenne" , Ellipses, 2005, pp. 101-102).
Formation of the characters
Each Hanja is composed of the one of the 214 radical and possibly of one or more additional elements. The very large majority of Hanja use these additional elements to indicate the pronunciation of the character, but some rare Hanja are purely pictographic and were conceived in a different way.
Significance and sounds
In modern Korean, when Hanja appears in a word or as a word with whole share, he is always pronounced same manner. However, to help to include/understand the characters, the dictionaries of characters and the schoolbooks refer to each character not only by its its but also by its Signification. This dual reading significance-sound of the characters is called eumhun (음훈; 音訓; according to 音 “its” + 訓 “significance”, “training”).
For example, the character 愛 is referred in the dictionaries of characters under the name sarang ae (사랑애), where sarang is the word “love” (the significance of the character) and ae is its pronunciation. In the same way, the character 人 is read saram in (사람인), where " saram" mean “anybody” and in is its pronunciation. When these two characters are combined to form the word 愛人, they are simply read aein (애인; pronounced " ay-in"), which signifit the idea of a expensive being or to be it liked (“love” + “nobody”).
The words used to indicate the significance are most of the time Korean origin (i.e., not of Chinese origin), and are sometimes antiquated words which are usually not used any more. For example, the character 山 is reference under me san or moe san (메산, marked " meh sahn" ; or 뫼산, marked " moeh sahn"), where me or moe is an antiquated word for “mountain” which nowadays was almost completely replaced by the word san which derives from Chinese.
This concept of duality significance-sound is similar but not identical to the readings Japanese be On' yomi and Kun' yomi of the Kanji, where a character can be read according to its pronunciation of Chinese origin ( one ) or its Japanese significance ( kun ).
Hanja are always taught in South Korea. The courses of Hanja take place of the Collège to the Lycée. 1807 Hanja are taught (either 199 less than the Kanji in Japan): 900 with the college and 900 with the college. The courses of Hanja in higher education exist in the majority of the Université S.
The introduction of basic course of Hanja in 1972 was modified the December 31st 2000 in order to replace 44 Hanja by 44 others. The choice of the characters to be eliminated was the cause of polemical sharp before and after the promulgation of the new law.
In the universities of overseas, the knowledge of some Hanja is a need for the pupils in Korean studies or “coreology”. Those which obtain their diploma know generally at least 1800 basic Hanja.
As much of Hanja (and thus of derived words) share the same pronunciation, two distinct Hanja words can transcribed beings in the same way in phonemic alphabet Han' gûl . Also, Hanja they is frequently employed in order to clarify the direction, either only without the word are equivalent in han' gûl , or between brackets after the word han' gûl , thus forming a Glose. Hanja are also often used as abbreviations in the titles of newspapers, publicities and the panels. Here some examples of use:
Hanja in the written media
The characters sino-Korean are generally used in the traditional literature, where they are used without their equivalents in han' gûl . Either all the words of sino-Korean origin can be written using Hanja (what is extremely rare), or only the words specialized or ambiguous are written in Hanja (what is the most current manner to use them). In the books and the magazines, Hanja are rather seldom used, and only to explain words already written in Han' gûl and whose direction is ambiguous. Hanja are also used in the titles of the newspapers in the place of the han' gûl in order to avoid the ambiguity of these titles which one can note in many languages. Hanja are often used in the dictionaries and the atlases (see below).
The use of the hanja and the Han' gûl reflects also political sensibilities: " Journalists and writers are determined politically: texts of left in Han' gûl, newspapers of right-hand side in mixed , could one almost say (...) Some poets were until eliminating the words of sino-Korean origin, even written in Han' gûl, reaction now last of mode" (source: Patrick Maurus, " History of the literature coréenne" , Ellipses, 2005, p. 102).
Hanja in the dictionariesIn the modern Korean dictionaries, all the entries of words of origin Sino-Korean are not printed in Han' gûl and are sorted in the order of the han' gûl, the Hanja form following immediately between brackets (a similar practice finds in the dictionaries Japanese). That makes it possible to prevent ambiguities and is also used as etymology, since the Hanja significance and the fact that the word is composed of Hanja often help to include/understand the origin of the mot.
To show how the hanja can help to level ambiguities, of many homonymous is written 수도 (sudo) in Han' gûl:
修道 “spiritual discipline”
- 受渡 “reception and delivery”
- 囚徒 “captive”
- 水都 “quoted of water” (i.e HongKong and Naples)
- 水稻 “rice”
- 水道 “sewer”
- 隧道 “tunnel”
- 首都 “capital (city)”
- 手刀 “pocket knife”
The dictionaries Hanja ( Okpyôn ) are organized according to their radical Chinese, like the Hanzi and the Kanji.
Hanja in the names of anybody
The Noms of anybody in Korean generally use Hanja, although there exist exceptions. These names are generally composed of a family name of a nature (Seong, 姓) followed by a name to two characters (" Ireum"). There exist some family names with two characters (ex: 南宮, nam' gung), and the carriers of these names (but not only them) frequently have a nickname of only one syllable. Traditionally, the nickname consists of a nature specific to the person and a nature shared by all the family members of the same sex and same (돌림자, tollimja). Manners however evolved/moved and although these practices are always largely followed, certain people have nicknames which are Korean words (most popular being Haneul , “paradise”, sky (and Iseul ), “dew”). At all events, the names of the people are always written and in Hangul and Hanja on the official documents (at least if the name includes/understands of Hanja).
Hanja in the place names
The place names are in the very large majority of the cases written with of Hanja although there exist exceptions, most important being the name of the capital, Seoul. The names Dissyllabic S for the lines of train, the highways and the areas are often formed with a character of each of the two names. For Seoul, the abbreviation is Hanja gyeong (京). Thus,
- the line Gyeongbu (京釜) connects Seoul ( gyeong ) to Busan ( drunk );
- the line Gyeongin (京仁) connects Seoul to Incheon ( in );
- the old area Jeolla (全羅) drew its name from the first characters of the names of the cities Jeonju (全州) and Naju (羅州) (the sound/ N /is compared to a " l" in Korean when it follows a sound/ L /).
The majority of the current atlases of Korea are published in two versions: one in Hangul (sometimes with a little English also), and the other in Hanja. The panels of the stations of subway and railroad indicate the names of the stations in Hangul , Hanja like in English, at the same time in order to help the tourists and in order to avoid ambiguities (a similar practice exists in Japan, where the panels are written in Hiragana, Kanji and in English).
The Prononciation of Hanja is not identical to that of the Chinese Langue. For example, 印刷 " imprimer" is yìnshuā in Chinese Mandarin and inswae (인쇄) in the Hanja pronunciation.
Because of the divergence of the pronunciations Chinese and Korean since the time of the loan, the pronunciation of Hanja and that of its equivalent in Hangul are sometimes very different. For example, 女 (“woman”) is nǚ in Chinese Mandarin and nyeo (녀) in Korean. However, in the majority of the modern Korean dialects (especially those of the South Korea), 女 is marked yeo (여), because of a change of initial N when it is followed of a there or of a I .
Hanja are sometimes used only for their Chinese pronunciation and not for their significance, in order to represent a grammatical Particule specific to Korean. This use is the base of the vernacular writings chino-Korean the such Gugyeol. For example, this last uses the Hanzi weini (爲尼) in order to transcribe the Korean word hăni , hani in modern Korean, who means “makes”. However, in Chinese, weini means “to become a nurse”. It is a typical example of the words Gugyeol where the radical (爲) is read in Korean for his significance (hă, “to make”) and the Suffixe 尼, nor , for its pronunciation.
VocabularyAs for Japanese, most of the Vocabulaire Hanja is directly borrowed Chinese vocabulary. A small number of words sino-Korean either were invented by the Koreans or replaced by the Hangul for the words without equivalents in Hanja.
Many academic and scientific terms were borrowed from the Japanese. This one translated many Western words (especially English and German S) into Sino-Japanese terms while inventing or by re-using words. They were then borrowed by Korean by systematically transforming the pronunciation of the characters of Japanese from Korean.
The table below contains different words between Chinese and Korean:
Sometimes the Chinese and Korean words are composed of the same characters, but in the inverse order.
Certain words sino-Korean derive from the writing Kun' yomi of the Kanji, which consists of Japanese pronunciations of Chinese natures. During their Korean loan, the sino-Korean pronunciation was used.
Some words exist only in Chinese and not in Hanja, especially in the expressions invented recently. These words were thus replaced by their equivalents Hangul.
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