The Floating Lantern: Hanja Blog

The Floating Lantern is a blog about Hanja.

For example, this week Cimi and I are learning Gold.  Floating Lantern’s image to remember gold is below.

gold_trans

These blog posts go into greater detail about hanja.  I learned why there are both a meaning and a pronunciation for each hanja character.  I have been trying to make my “Hanja for Cimi” posts as simple as possible.  Cimi and I both watch Korean dramas, but she does not know Korean and neither of us know Mandarin Chinese.  I know just a little bit of Korean, a novice learner.  So anyone following along, know that I blog as I learn, and I have so much to learn.

For every character Cimi and I learn, there is

Definition (gold)
Chinese character (金)
Pinyin romanized spelling for transliterating Chinese (jīn)
Korean meaning (쇠) and sound (금)
Korean romanized spelling (guem)

Add in radicals, stroke order, historical notes, and related characters, and it is all enough to make my head explode. (Some times I worry Cimi must hate me for dragging her into this … when all she did was mention in passing she might take a trip to China next year.)

One hanja character a week is all I can handle. I learn a little bit more as my understanding grows.  I adjust to the fact that I need to learn one more thing (Korean sound) for each hanja character.  For example 목 is the sound for tree.

木 tree 나무

At least I finally understand why the book “Useful Chinese Characters for Learners of Korean” has two Korean words for each Chinese character.  I also understand why the Yellow-Bridge Mandarin dictionary has Korean listed that is not always the Korean word I know.  Yellow-Bridge is listing the Korean sound, not the native Korean meaning.

Below is a chart of the elements with both their meaning and sound.
elements_chart

If you are still reading Cimi, I ask your forgiveness for one more detail about Gold that I left off in order to keep things simple.  From the Floating Lantern blog post:

Alternatively, this character is also 성씨 (Seong-si), which means last name, and is pronounced 김 (Kim).

I think Cimi and I can agree that we have enough to handle already with our one Chinese character a week without worrying about words that have multiple meanings!  Haha.

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