We are working on combination characters, those who have a particular character to the left side added to another characters. Here are some we have done: 味, meaning “taste.” You can see the character for “mouth” on the left side. In Japanese, this is said: あじ (aji) or み (mi.) In Korean, this is said: 맛이 (mahshee). In Chinese is said: “wei.” It is the same in traditional Chinese and modern Chinese. Another character we worked on is: 呼. You can also see the mouth on the left side of this one. This character means: call. In Japanese, this is pronounced: よぶ (yobu). In Korean, this is said: 요구 (yogoo). In Chinese, this is said: “hu.” The next one we did was: 吸 which means “inhale.” You can also see the mouth on the left side of this one, and it means: inhale. In Japanese, this is said: すう (su-u) or きゆう (kiyu-u). In Korean, this is said: 흠입 (hub-eeb), and the 입 (eeb) means “mouth.” In Chinese, this is said: “xi.”
After that, we left the ones having to do with the mouth and went to characters that have to do with the earth or dirt: 土 which is pronounced: と (do) or つち (tsuchi) in Japanese, 토 (to) or 지 (ji) in Korean, and “di” in Chinese. The first character we did with this one on the side is: 地 which means “earth.” You can see the small 土 to the left side of this character. In Japanese, this kanji is said: ち (chi). In Korean, this hanmoon is said: 지구. (jeegoo) or 토료 (toryoo). In Chinese, this hanzi is said: “di” or if you add a little to it: 地球 means “earth,” and it is said: “diqiu,” almost like the Korean. The next one we did with 土 to the left side is: 場. You can see the small 土 on the left of ths too. In Japanese, this is pronounced: ば (ba), and if you add a little to it in Japanese: 場所, evidently “ば” means “place,” and so does the second kanji here which is: ところ (tokoro). In Korean, they have 장소.(jangso) or 돗 (got) which mean “place,” In Chinese, this hanzi: 場 is said: “chang,” and it means “spot, place, office, or department. The other one we studied that has a small 土 to the left side is: 坂 which means “slope.” In Japanese, this is said: さか (saka). In Korean, this is said: 경사 (gyeongsa). In Chinese, this is said: “po.” Before I leave 土, I want to remind you that it is also part of the character for “Saturday”: 土曜日．In Japanese, this is said: どよび ( doyobi). In Korean, it is 토요일 ( to-yo-eel), and in Chinese, this is not used for Saturday, but this one is: 周六, and it is pronouned: “zhou liu.”
Now that I think I have reviewed all the characters we have talked about with either 口 (mouth) or 土 (earth or soil) to the left side, let’s talk about another character that is seen on the left side of many characters. We have studied it before: 女. If you remember, this means “woman.” In Japanese, it is said: おんな (onna). In Korean, it is said: 여자 (yeoja), and in Chinese: “nu,” and if you want to make it more than just “female” in Chinese, add another hanzi: 女士 is said “nushi,” and 女人 is said “nuren” which is basically “woman person.”
The character we want to use 女 on the left side of is: 好. The first character literally means “woman,” and the second one literally means “child,” but together, they means “like.” In Japanese, this is said: すき (su-ki), and they usually use the whole word to make a verb: 好きです（すきです) (sukidesu.) In Korean, this is: 좋아 (joh-ah) for the noun and 좋아하다 (jog-ahada) or 좋아해요 (joh-ah-heyo) for the verb. In traditional Chinese, they use a different character for “like”: 喜歡, so this is the character the Koreans would use. they also use a different character in Chinese for the verb “like”: 喜欢 which is the simplified version of the the Koreans use, and in Chinese it is said: “xihuan.” Remember, the traditional Chinese characters are what the Korean scholars use. At one time, all three countries used the characters that the Koreans use, but the Chinese and the Japanese went through a time of deciding they needed to simplify the characters, and they changed them, but the Korean scholars stick to the old traditional Chinese characters. And, remember, only the scholars use them in Korea. The regular man on the street doesn’t know them. Hangul, the Korean alphabet was invented because the Chinese characters were so hard to learn that the man on the street was illiterate until they invented hangul, the Korean alphabet. Now, they have 100% literacy, and the scholars still use the traditional Chinese characters, and sometimes, you see them on signs around town.
Japanese: 好きです = like (the verb). In Japanese hiragana, this is written: すきです (suki desu).
Korean: 喜歡 = like (the verb). In Korean hangul, this is written: 좋아하다 (joh-ah-hada) or 좋아해요 (joh-ah-heyo).. The Korean hanmoon is the traditional Chinese character.
Modern Chinese: 喜欢 = like (the verb). In Chinese, this is said: “xihuan.”
The next character that uses 女 on the left side is: 姉 which means “older sister.” In China, Korea, and Japan, they have just one word for this because of the hierarch that exists in the Confucian cultures. There is another word that means just “sister,” and another one that means “younger sister,” but this character means “older sister.” In japanese, this is said: あね (ah-ne). In Korean, this is said: 언니 (eonnee), and in Chinese, this is said: “jiejie,” and the character is written a bit different from the Japanese character in both traditional and modern Chinese. It is the same in traditonal and modern Chinese: 姐姐. This means this is also the character the Koreans use. The Japanese word and the Korean word are similar, but the Chinese and the Koreans use the same character.
Japanese: 姉 = older sister. In Japanese, this is said: あね (ane).
Korean: 姐姐 = older sister. In Korean, this is 언니 (eonee).
Chinese: 姐姐 = older sister. In Chinese this is said: “jiejie.”
The next character that uses 女 (the character for “woman”) one the left side is: 妹. This means “younger sister.” In Japanese, it is said: いもおと (imo-oto). In Korean, it is said: 여동생 (yeodongseng). In Chinese, it is said: meimei, and they usually write it twice in both traditional and simplified modern Chinese:妹妹. This means they also write it twice when they are using hanmoon, the Korean characters. Remember, the age of a person is very important in these countries because of Confucianism. The older child, even if they are only one minute older is considered the boss of the younger child, and it doesn’t matter how old they get. Even after they are grown, the go by these distinctions in age. In a Confucian culture, the grandparents have a lot of power, more power than the parents over their kids.
Japanese: 妹 = younger sister. In Japanese hiragana, this is said: いもおと (imo-oto).
Korean: 妹妹 = younger sister. In Korean hangul, this is: 여동생 (yeodongseng).
Chinese: 妹妹 = younger sister. In Chinese this is pronounced: meimei.
I hope you are enjoying comparing the characters used from country to country with these characters. As I said, a long time ago, I thought if I would just learn kanji, the Chinese characters used in Japan, that I could read the signs in the other countries. I thought it was like the key to the orient. It is helpful to know these, but the more I have studied, I have learned that when the Chinese girl told me she could read all the signs in Japan and understand them, she was oversimplifying it. Most of the characters are the same, but some are not. And, the modern day Korean on the street if he knows any of these, knows very little. Only the scholars in Korea know them. They study them because they enable them to read the older literature. The preachers like to read Bibles that have these characters in them because they say they can understand them better.
My Korean son in law has studied a lot of them because his father is a Hanmoon professor and a preacher, and he grew up going to his dad’s classes. My Korean son in law has an interest in ancient Oriental philosophy, and he thought about getting a doctorate in it, but he hasn’t because he feels like he hasn’t studied enough of these characters. His mother discourages his studies, and his dad encourages his studies. He is in America now, so he may have given up the idea. Now, he is reading about the American Indians, their culture, their history, and the language. Many people don’t realize that Cherokee has the same grammar as Korean and Japanese, and that has really caught his interest.
The Cherokee grammar probably came from the Mongolians who came to America on the ice bridge centuries ago. The Mongolians are related to the Koreans and the American Indians, and they ruled China at one time. They also ruled a lot of Europe at one time, and their home base was Hungary where the language is like Korean. The name “Hungary” comes from “Atila the Hun,” a Mongolian leader who lived in Hungary, and many Hungarians are still oriental looking because their ancestors never left Hungary. I was also surprised to learn that in Bangladesh, they also use the same grammar at he Koreans, the Japanese, the Hungarians, and the Cherokees. After a while, the world doesn’t seem as big as it once did because through history, we are all related some how.