Hanja

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Sisyphe
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Hanja

Postby Sisyphe » 2006-08-16, 18:38

Hey everyone,

I'm sorry if another thread is geared to this question, but I was wondering if anyone had any resources for learning hanja.
To native speakers, I would like to ask approximately how many hanja you know, where they are most commonly found, if I should even bother to learn them at all and if I should start learning them as soon as possible or wait for some reason...

Thanks,

Sisyphe
Last edited by Sisyphe on 2006-09-21, 22:59, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby gibbor » 2006-08-17, 9:35

안녕?

If you'd like to learn Hanja, then this site might be of use to you.

It's not necessary to know 한자 in order to be able to read Korean. I've even heard from a Korean friend of mine that taking Hanja courses is no longer obligatory in South Korea. She knows over 1,000 Hanja though, in part by teaching herself from Confusianist books. However, she does not know exactly how many of them she knows. If I'm not mistaken, the number of 한자 Koreans had to learn in school was about a 1,000.

Hanja are often inserted in texts when the meaning of a word is not clear from the context so as to avoid confusion and misinterpretation. Just think of synonyms. Hanja are also used to write Korean names. In fact, many Koreans have both a native Korean and 'Hanja name' which pronunciation may differ from the Korean one. Note that almost half of Korean vocabulary was borrowed from Chinese and many Korean words are made up of roots, just like in Chinese. Korean used to be written using Chinese characters and therefore knowing Hanja is a necessity if you want to seriously study ancient Korean texts.

An example. '' is the name of the Korean people, but also that of the Chinese. To avoid confusion, you can use these Hanja:

the Korean 'Han' people,
the Chinese 'Han' people.

In my view, it's better to learn Hanja once you have a solid knowledge of Korean and have good insight in the language. However, learning some basic Hanja should cause no harm! ;)

Thanks,
gibbor

PS: anybody feel free to correct me if I'm wrong

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Postby Sisyphe » 2006-08-17, 18:13

Thanks a lot for the link - they don't look too difficult - just like Chinese hanzi with a different pronunciation - so I don't think it would hurt to learn them... :lol: :D
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Postby Alcadras » 2006-08-17, 18:41

I had always liked the Korean alphabet and i still do. They're like lego pieces. :P Too enjoyable.

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Postby Karavinka » 2006-08-17, 20:02

Learning Hanja is not obligatory to learn Korean. Many young people become practically illiterate when they face Hanja. Afaik junior/senior highschools in South Korea teach about 1500. (combined) Older people generally know more Hanja, because all newspapers used Hanja and Hangeul combined (like Japanese) up to 70s (I think, not sure) in South Korea.

However, South Korean ministry of education changed its policy quite often - some age groups grew up with no education of Hanja. So I'd say it varies greatly depending on the individual. Most people who actively learn Hanja is either for the Classical studies or a Hanja certificate (which becomes a bonus for their academic/career opportunities.)

Situation in North Korea is simpler. They don't learn Hanja unless they are in classical studies.

I personally don't recommend learning Hanja unless learners reach intermediate/advanced levels, because it can be a huge burden with hardly any practical usage. (Unless one knows many characters from Japanese or Chinese already)
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Postby Yeong-gwang » 2008-01-17, 20:25

While many say, learning hanja is not necessary, I think it at least helps aquiring new vocabulary. My vocabulary is quite basic (which means I can understand basic sentences but not follow a discussion, not understand the news titles on TV, not reading a newspaper or a book...). I decided that I really have to learn more words, but since every word is a really new word, I have problems remembering them.

Don't listen to Korean people who tell you you don't need hanja. The truth is: they don't need hanja, but you do (at least me). When someone is learning something, the best way to remember is to link the new thing to something known. Except the transparent words in Korean, which are mainly English words proncounced and written in a Korean style, a westerner really has nothing to link his new words to.

However, once you know 명 (名) stands for "name", it's much easier to remember words like 명작 (a masterpiece), 유명인 (a celebrity) or 성명 (a full name). The hanja itself doesn't actually help in either the meaning or the pronounciation by itself, it's just another thing which you can hook up other words, make other connections. For example, this hanja consists of two pictographs, 夕 (crescent moon which suggests a dark night) and 口 (mouth), so you can make up the meaning: "talk in order not to be hidden in the dark" which means that others get to know me, hence, NAME. The next time you encounter the crescent moon pictograph or the mouth pictograph, then they won't be unkown to you and will help you connect new words to the known ones.

Not to mention that knowing hanja will let you learn Chinese or Japanese more easily when you get to them next...

By the way, if you are interested in the etymology of hanja, like I explained above, I'm sure you will be fascinated by the following website: http://www.kanjinetworks.com/ . Even though it's targetted at japanese learners, the etymology is the same in Korean. Don't be afraid of the simplified kanji vs. the more complex hanja: they mention "FORMERLY" followed by the shape the kanji had before simplification, which is the form still used in Korea.

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Postby Karavinka » 2008-01-17, 22:39

@ Yeonggwang

I would still restrain myself from encouraging the learners to study Hanja unless the person has attained a considerable amount of knowledge already. The analogy is as follows. The learners of English in East Asia cannot differentiate whether a word comes from Latin, Greek, or its Anglo-Saxon roots until the person has learned a sizeable amount of English vocabulary and the background information surrounding the English language. By "intermediate" or "advanced", the learner should have developed this "intuition" to tell which words come from Chinese and which ones not, then a knowledge of Hanja could be of utility. At the beginner's level, the burden of learning this set of seemingly arbitrary strokes is too high for the utility gained from it, and especially so if the learner has no acquaintance with another Sinitic or sinoxenic language beforehand.
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Postby Yeong-gwang » 2008-01-17, 23:36

Hi Noir,

I totally agree with your point with foreign words in English: the origin of the words might really seem random (you forgot French in your list) and most roots don't actually help. For example what help is it to know that "through" originates from þurh, if you don't know any other germanic language (e.g. German) to which you can attach it?

On the other side, many Korean words (is it 50%? or even 75%? -- I don't know the figures) really do originate from Chinese. Most of them are 2-syllable words and knowing the meaning behind these is really helpful for learning. If the learner wants to just know the meaning, be able to recognize the hanja or even be able to draw it is up to him.

I have taken this approach because of several things:

1) when I was taking a 2-month intensive class in an institute in Seoul, I was the only westerner among the students of my class. Most of them were Japanese so learning new words was no problem for them. One was a Korean-American who already knew the language from his parents. The learning pace was therefore extremely fast to my eyes (and ears) and

2) learning 20-30 2-syllable words per day, many of them very similar to each other was just impossible, without having something else to connect to.

True, I have a linguistic background, I know how languages work and what the word etymology means, but this is no reason for not giving a tool to other learners which might help them learning the language. In the end, learning a language being a trial-and-error process, everyone has to find his own learning strategy which fits him best. So those who begin with Korean can try learning the language with hanja, if it's too complicated or if it confuses them more than it helps them, they are free to quit.

For those still interested in this path, I can warmly suggest buying this book: http://books.google.ch/books?id=psO_Oli22m8C (Handbook Of Korean Vocabulary by Miho Choo & William O'Grady). It really helped me since the first day.

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Postby lishaoxuan » 2008-01-18, 12:08

Yeong-gwang wrote:On the other side, many Korean words (is it 50%? or even 75%?

I think to be accurate, that should be 75% of noun, but not the entire vocab, right?

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Postby Rounin » 2008-02-19, 14:51

Sisyphe wrote:Thanks a lot for the link - they don't look too difficult - just like Chinese hanzi with a different pronunciation - so I don't think it would hurt to learn them... :lol: :D

And when you say "different pronunciation", the Korean pronunciation is often more "Chinese" than the actual modern Chinese.

There will often be variations - The Korean pronunciation retains the final consonants, and the initial or medial may be slightly different, but there's a consistent, logical relationship there that is a great help if one is already familiar with Chinese characters.

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Re: Hanja

Postby polishboy » 2009-02-10, 11:42

I begun learning Korean with hanja, since before I knew a little Chinese.
And I think it is helpful, because Korean vocabulary is very vast, and you need to learn much of vocabulary.

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Re: Hanja

Postby Hollow » 2009-02-10, 14:14

About the newspaper bit, our moderator is somewhat mistaken. Most newspapers used Hanja very liberally until the late 1980s-mid 1990s, except like 한겨래

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Re: Hanja

Postby Imbecilica » 2009-04-03, 10:03

How many Hanja characters were used in the past and do you have a pronunciation for each and every Chinese character or just a portion of them. I'm guessing it's like Vietnamese, how most Chinese characters has a local pronunciation.
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Re: Hanja

Postby Kasuya » 2009-04-03, 15:08

Just wondering but...

Does one ever come across people in the Korean internet who write using Hanja?

Any thread on the infamous Japanese BBS 2ch which has something to do with politics usually brings out some right-winger who will write in Japanese using only traditional Chinese characters. Also a small minority of Japanese websites use only traditional Chinese characters.

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Re: Hanja

Postby Karavinka » 2009-04-03, 17:17

Imbecilica wrote:How many Hanja characters were used in the past and do you have a pronunciation for each and every Chinese character or just a portion of them. I'm guessing it's like Vietnamese, how most Chinese characters has a local pronunciation.


1. Most "Korean" literature (that is, written by Koreans) until 19C were written in Classical Chinese. Hence, it could be said that their character set was pretty much identical to China.

2. All characters have Korean pronetics, whether they are used in Korean or not. The same principles of sound correspondence or the phonetic elements in the character can determine the pronunciation in Korean, the same way it does in Chinese.

lichtrausch wrote:Just wondering but...

Does one ever come across people in the Korean internet who write using Hanja?

Any thread on the infamous Japanese BBS 2ch which has something to do with politics usually brings out some right-winger who will write in Japanese using only traditional Chinese characters. Also a small minority of Japanese websites use only traditional Chinese characters.


You will not have much luck trying to find such people online for a rather obvious reason that it is harder to type Hanja using Korean IME. Unlike Chinese or Japanese, you cannot simply convert words but character by character. Some publications still make use of Hanja, but it is unlikely to be seen online. (Moreover, many people frown upon the usage of the mixed scripts nowadays.)
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Re: Hanja

Postby Myeong » 2009-04-03, 23:44

Now this is a very interesting discussion and I can't not participate... :mrgreen:

First to tell you all I edited a list of the 1800 most common hanja used in modern Korean that you can find there: http://cours.coreen.free.fr/hanja/. Don't be fooled by the french on the first page, it's actually in Korean and Japanese (although I plan to add French in the days to come).

I'm also working on a list with the actual official Korean classification, levels 8 to 1 (8 is lowest and 1 is highest), with also French translation and, if really needed, English translation (but you'll have to request it from me if you really want it because it'll be some work :mrgreen:).

The levels of this classification are as follows:

8급 읽기 50자, 쓰기 없음
유치원생이나 초등학생의 학습동기 부여를 위한 급수
(초등학교 1학년)

7급 읽기 150자, 쓰기 없음
한자 공부를 처음 시작하는 분을 위한 초급단계
(초등학교 2학년)

6급Ⅱ 읽기 300자, 쓰기 50자
한자 쓰기를 시작하는 첫 급수
(초등학교 3학년)

6급 읽기 300자, 쓰기 150자
기초 한자 쓰기를 시작하는 급수
(초등학교 3학년)

5급 읽기 500자, 쓰기 300자
학습용 한자 쓰기를 시작하는 급수
(초등학교 4학년)

4급Ⅱ 읽기 750자, 쓰기 400자
5급과 4급의 격차를 해소하기 위한 급수
(초등학교 5학년)

4급 읽기 1,000자, 쓰기 500자
초급에서 중급으로 올라가는 급수
(초등학교 6학년)

3급Ⅱ 읽기 1,400자, 쓰기 750자
4급과 3급의 격차를 해소하기 위한 급수
(중학생)

3급 읽기 1,807자, 쓰기 1,000자
신문 또는 일반 교양어를 읽을 수 있는 수준
(고등학생)

2급 읽기 2,350자, 쓰기 1,807자
일상 한자어를 구사할 수 있는 수준
(대학생ㆍ일반인)

1급 읽기 3,500자, 쓰기 2,000자
국한혼용 고전을 불편 없이 읽고, 공부할 수 있는 수준
(대학생ㆍ일반인)

I believe no translation is needed seeing your respective levels; if you don't get it I'll translate it tomorrow because it's time to go to bed. ;)

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Re: Hanja

Postby Karavinka » 2009-04-05, 0:26

Myeong, can you give a link reference? I'm not sure whether there is an "official" lists for each grade like in Japan, and the test is more likely private (though it might very well be recognised.)
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Re: Hanja

Postby Myeong » 2009-04-11, 13:01

Sorry, looks like I eluded this reply... :mrgreen:

noir wrote:Myeong, can you give a link reference? I'm not sure whether there is an "official" lists for each grade like in Japan, and the test is more likely private (though it might very well be recognised.)


I found that on http://www.cyberhanja.com/; more precisely on http://www.cyberhanja.com/hantest2/han-04.htm. I actually don't know how "official" this is, maybe you can tell us about it. ;)

I guess that from your knowledge of Korean, and also Japanese and Chinese, you should know at least the 1800 hanja taught in high school, no?

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Re: Hanja

Postby Karavinka » 2009-04-15, 3:05

Myeong wrote:Sorry, looks like I eluded this reply... :mrgreen:

noir wrote:Myeong, can you give a link reference? I'm not sure whether there is an "official" lists for each grade like in Japan, and the test is more likely private (though it might very well be recognised.)


I found that on http://www.cyberhanja.com/; more precisely on http://www.cyberhanja.com/hantest2/han-04.htm. I actually don't know how "official" this is, maybe you can tell us about it. ;)

I guess that from your knowledge of Korean, and also Japanese and Chinese, you should know at least the 1800 hanja taught in high school, no?


Maybe you can search for the exam from the place acronymed as "Eomunhoe" - I can't do it now because I can't type. ;) I heard that their exam was the most widely accepted one, but none of these Hanja certs are "official" - that is to say, state-run.

Well, I can read most of them and can recognise not an insignificant number more ;) but well, I'm forgetting to spell... and I sometimes wonder whether this character was this or that. Decaying. Grr.
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Re: Hanja

Postby coresnake » 2009-04-17, 20:11

Hello there, does anyone know of a flashcard tool much like the very excellent Active Chinese (http://www.winvue.com/) for Korean Hanja?

One which would test the pronunciations of each Hanja by letting the user input in Hangeul?

I currently cannot find anything that offers this, so I am planning on making a set of cards at Quizlet, however this will be time consuming so I want to check if there isn't something like this available already. Thanks!


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