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Hanja Lesson 8: 韓, 國, 民, 美, 漢

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In this lesson, you will learn five characters that all have meanings related to countries.



= = Korea
(Korean name:
나라이름 )

Drawing the character 韓 is somewhat difficult as a beginner because there are a lot of strokes that need to be performed. A lot of times a complex character also has a complex meaning and is not very common in Korea. However, this character literally means “Korea,” so you can find it in many places. Writing around any government buildings, web-pages or documents is often very formal, therefore the Hanja characters are often written as well.

Lesson8pic1Common Words using this Character:
韓국 = Korea
大韓민국 = The Republic of Korea (official name of Korea)
韓복 = traditional Korean clothing
北韓 = North Korea
南北韓 = North and South Korea
韓국人 = a Korean person
韓국어 = Korean language



= = Country
(Korean name:
나라 )

While this character is slightly difficult to draw at first, it is very recognizable because few characters look similar to it. Definitely one of the characters that every Korean person is expected to be able to recognize. The names of many countries end in “國” in Korean.  It would also be beneficial to be able to recognize the simplified version of this character; both because it is very common and because it is easy to recognize (国)

Lesson8pic2aCommon Words using this Character:
韓國 = Korea
中國 = China
天國 = heaven
國제 = international
大韓민國 = The Republic of Korea
母國 = one’s homeland (motherland)
母國어 = one’s mother tongue
전國 = a whole country
韓國人 = Korean person
外國 = a foreign country
外國人 = a foreigner
國內 = inside a country



= = The people (of a country)
(Korean name:
백성 )

Used along with other characters to represent the masses of a population.

Lesson8pic3Common Words using this Character:
大韓民國 = The Republic of Korea
國民 = the people of a country
시民 = citizen
주民 = resident
民주주의 = democracy



= = Beautiful/United States
(Korean name:
아름다울 )

This character is actually written on signs all over Korea in its Hanja form – therefore, everybody should be able to recognize it. The most common places you will find it is on signs designating that a store is a beauty-parlor/hair-salon.

The “United States” in Korea (and Chinese for that matter) literally translates to “beautiful country.” As a Canadian, I take offense to that.

Lesson8pic4Common Words using this Character:
美國 = the United States
美國人 = an American
美술 = Art
美人 = a beautiful person
美女 = a beautiful woman
美용실 = beauty parlor
美男 = a beautiful man (pretty boy)



= = Korea/China
(Korean name:
한나라 )

You learned earlier that the character “韓” means Korea. It is very easy for learners to be confused between “韓” and “漢”, which are both “한.” You will find the character 漢 on various things around or in Korea in relation to the Han River (the river that goes through Seoul). However, 韓 is typically used to refer to things that literally refer to the country of Korea (for example, the country itself, the language and the people).


Common Words using this Character:
漢문 = writing Korean in Chinese characters
漢字 = Hanja
漢양 = Hanyang (an old name for the city of Seoul)
漢성 = Hanseong (an old name for the city of Seoul)
漢강 = Han River (the river that goes through Seoul)
北漢山 = Bukhansan (mountain range in the north of Seoul)


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