Why is South Korea picking up Chinese characters?

2020-01-20 | Earth Knowledge Bureau original |

Text is one of the signs that humans have entered civilization. Each different type of text represents a culture behind it.

And the creation of Chinese characters is a strong stroke in the history of human civilization. Chinese characters not only promoted the development of the Central Plains dynasty, but also radiated the cultural circle of Chinese characters centered on the Yellow River Basin. This also includes the Korean peninsula connected to China's landscape..

Of course, a set of upper cultural and political norms

also learned along with the Chinese characters

Seoul-Gyeongbokgung Palace-In front of Xingli Gate

picture from: shutterstock ▼

Chinese characters have been used on the Korean peninsula for 2,000 years. Until the inscription of the Korean King Sejong the Great in 1446, the Chinese characters were the only characters in circulation on the Korean peninsula.

After the end of World War II, the national independence movement raged, the Korean Peninsula was divided into two, and it followed two different trajectories. North Korea and South Korea have different policies and attitudes toward Chinese characters.

Two flowers bloom, here is a single Korean branch.

At first glance, it looks like tofu cubes. If you look closely, you can't recognize it.

Photo from shutterstock @ Amy Nichole Harris ▼

Chinese characters in Korean

The introduction of Chinese characters can be traced back to at least the third century BC, and the large-scale popularization was around AD. By the time of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, Silla and Baekje literati had begun to use Chinese characters to write poems, and historians also used Chinese characters to write and compile historyClassics.

The introduction of Chinese characters has a comprehensive and profound impact on the language and culture of the Korean nation.

Han and Tang Dynasty both partially ruled the Korean Peninsula

plus the Central Plains Dynasty was also the main source of culture and trade

text as an important part of upper rule

It is directly accepted by the upper levels of the Korean Peninsula ▼

To this day, Chinese in Korea can not only capture words similar to the pronunciation of Chinese, but also hear expressions that are not commonly used in China, such as "Jie Cao Bao En", "Men and women have different seats at the age of seven." AlsoSome expressions similar to Chinese allusions, such as "Flock of Chickens and One Crane", "Friends of Zhuma".

Of course, there are some Korean expressions that cannot be directly explained in Chinese, such as the blood of bird's foot: the metaphor is very small and insignificant, and the tree of ten fells: refers to a tree that will not fall without being cut dozens of times.

picture from: naver.com ▼

Korean divides the vocabulary into three categories, one is an inherent word, the other is a foreign word, and the third is a Chinese word. These words are collectively called Chinese words, and are not considered foreign words, and most of the time KoreansIt is also impossible to distinguish which words are inherent words and which are Chinese words.

There are also different related interest groups in Korea who have done statistics on this. The Chinese Language Education Research Association believes that out of the 56906 words surveyed, Chinese characters are 39563, accounting for 70.53%;"More than 85,000 Chinese vocabulary words were found in this book, accounting for 53% of the dictionary.

Chinese words are mainly divided into three categories. First, they were introduced in ancient China, which accounted for the largest proportion. However, in the course of years of development, South Korean Chinese words have produced relatively large differences from modern Chinese words. First of all,In terms of use and pronunciation, for example, the numbers of one to ten in Korean are pronounced much like dialects in some parts of China. Some experts believe that the pronunciation of Korean numbers retains the phonology of medieval Chinese. At the same time, the writing of many Korean characters is also related toSimplified and Traditional Chinese characters are very different.

Second is the self-made Chinese word in South Korea. Korean society or academia relies on the principle of Chinese word formation to independently create Chinese word vocabulary in response to the specific circumstances of South Korea.

The third is Japanese characters introduced from Japan. After the Meiji Restoration, Japan implemented the "out of Asia and Europe" cultural policy, introduced Western technology, and learned Western culture. Many concepts of Western ideas entered Japan and were translated into Chinese characters.New vocabulary was formed. This part of the vocabulary also entered the Korean peninsula. The compulsory learning during the Japanese occupation period on the Korean peninsula also deepened the process.

However, Japanese and Chinese characters introduced in Japan by compulsory learning

It is extremely offensive to Koreans

As a result, the anger of this ethnic humiliation is also vented on Chinese characters

"Chongshi rename" order issued during the Japanese occupation period, picture from: Wikipedia ▼

Although Chinese characters have a profound influence on Korean and Chinese characters have been official texts of the Korean peninsula for a long time, Chinese characters have always lacked the basis for their circulation in the peninsula. This is because Korean is considered by many to belong to the Altaic language family., And it is a cohesive language, which is completely different from the use of the isolated language Chinese belonging to the Sino-Tibetan family, so it is difficult to express the meaning of Korean by Chinese characters alone.

The cost of literacy in agricultural society is high and the literacy rate is very low

The text is mainly used in writing, especially administrative management

and in the transitional period after the proverb appears

Civil official groups often have to master two sets of text at the same time

AD 1443, the fourth generation of King Lee of the Joseon Dynasty, King Jong, King Sejong, because "the language of the country is different from China, and the words are not in circulation. Therefore, the foolish people have something to say, but they must not apply for it."For its sympathy, the new 28-character system is intended to make it easy for everyone to learn and use for daily use. "Send people to complete" Training the People's True Sounds "and create the Korean pinyin text-the proverb, which is today's Korean and Korean.

"Training the People"

picture from: Wikipedia ▼

Thirty-six alphabets of Mongolian Rhyme

Some scholars believe that the creation of the Korean alphabet was influenced by Basba

but not recorded in historical sources

Photo from: Wikipedia @ 朱宗文 ▼

Twenty-eight letters based on proverbs

Is it affected by the Basba script of the Yuan Dynasty in China

I see you and my friends ▼

Restoration of Chinese Character Education

Since modern times, especially after the North-South divide of the Korean peninsula, South Korea has been influenced by American politics, economy, culture and other aspects. Korean intellectuals have accepted and advocated the "superiority of phonetic characters" and "the theory of backwardness of Chinese characters".

Coupled with the bitter national memory of being invaded by the Japanese militaristic regime, in order to oppose the Japanese aggression and increase the awareness of national self-rescue, the Koreans have strengthened the concept of protecting the inherent culture of the nation, so they began to cancel, ban, or downplay Chinese characters.

Han Han Han's "Daily News" August 14, 1945

picture from: Wikipedia ▼

US Army's leaflet during the Korean War is still mixed with Chinese and Korean

Photo from: Wikipedia @ US Army Corps 8239 Broadcasting and Flyer Group ▼

At the end of the 1960s, when the then Korean President Park Jung Hee was facing a serious political crisis, in order to be able to win re-election, Park Jung Hee also labeled "Korean only" with a patriotic label. In 1968, the Park Jung Hee government announced the "Korean Only 5-Year Plan",It is stipulated that the use of Chinese characters in government publications and general publications shall be reduced year by year. At the end of 1968, 2,000 words were used, and at the end of 1969, it was 1300 words, which will be reduced year by year until the full implementation of the Korean language.

"Gwanghwamun Gate" rebuilt in the Park Jung Hee era

picture from: Wikipedia @ Moody75 ▼

At the same time, Park Jung Hee ordered textbooks to abolish all Chinese characters, and instructed relevant departments to implement the following seven specific measures to promote "Korean only" :

First, since January 1, 1970, all official correspondence and folk correspondence of the administrative, legislative, and judicial departments are all in Korean. All domestic official documents and letters are not accepted;

Second, a special committee for Korean characters was set up under the Ministry of Culture and Education. In the first half of 1969, research and development of easy-to-learn marking methods and their popularization methods;

Third, develop Korean typewriters as soon as possible, and popularize terminal applications;

Fourth, actively guide and reward the use of Korean characters in the press and publishing industry;

Fifth, amend the "Regulations on Korean Professional Use" formulated in 1948. Since January 1, 1970, the entire country has been restricted to use Korean characters, and Chinese characters in textbooks have been cancelled;

Sixth, cancel Chinese characters in textbooks at all levels of schools;

Seventh, speed up Korean translation of classical works.

However, Chinese characters derived from Chinese characters are an indispensable element of the Korean language. Chinese characters are also the origin of Chinese characters. When South Korea got rid of the agitated narrow nationalism and truly embraced the roots of its national culture,The kanji itself will again be valued by Korean society.

Kim Jung Hee, a famous calligrapher in Korean history

Most of his works use Chinese characters

Photo from: Wikipedia @ 金正熙 ▼

The first thing to understand is the academia and education. Some people in education in South Korea have stated that in the formal education of schools, Chinese characters should not be regarded as foreign languages. Instead, students should learn Chinese characters in stages and use them as national characters together with Korean.Education.

Several major academic organizations in Korea have also submitted proposals to the government to restore Chinese character education. With the promotion of cultural and educational experts, in 1974, the Ministry of Culture and Education stipulated that middle school textbooks can use Chinese characters together.

The Ministry of Culture and Education promulgated the "Decree on Correction of Education Law", stipulating that Chinese character education should be resumed in junior and senior high schools, and 1800 "basic Chinese characters for education" were formulated. Since then, Korean character education has gradually returned to the track.

Chinese character heat up

Chinese character education finally returned to Korea in the 1970s. But in the society at the time, students were not interested in Chinese characters. On the one hand, because of the spread of nationalism in society, the "hate culture" rooted in the Korean nation is nationalismVery fertile soil. On the other hand, because the Chinese character course is only an elective, it is not mandatory, and it will not affect the college entrance examination results.

Like China, South Korea ’s college entrance examination is also the only way to cross the wooden bridge. It is even more brutal than China ’s college entrance examination. Candidates have to complete five subjects in one day, and the admission rate is only 50%. Admission to the university is enough to change one.The trajectory of Korean young people's life, in the case of the college entrance examination does not involve Chinese, it is reasonable for students to have little interest in this.

But the baton of the college entrance examination can suppress the teaching of Chinese characters, and it can also revive Chinese characters.

In 2000, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources of Korea recognized the national certification qualification of the Chinese Proficiency Test and introduced Chinese characters into the university entrance and corporate recruitment examinations. When enrolling students, universities and high schools can obtain the Chinese character test registration certificate.Get extra points for care.

This has stimulated countless parents and students. Some parents believe in the effectiveness of early Chinese character education, arrange extracurricular activities to teach their children Chinese characters, and even have more guarantees for the college entrance examination, so that children can obtain a Chinese character proficiency test level certificate. Extracurricular Chinese charactersTutorial institutions have also sprung up like mushrooms, making Chinese teachers in short supply.

Currently, Korean educational institutions require university graduates to master 2,000 Chinese characters, while Korean civil service exams require candidates to have a knowledge reserve of 6,000 Chinese characters, which exceeds even the average level of Chinese characters in Chinese.

Not only Chinese characters. With the development of the modern Chinese cultural industry, while the Korean wave blows into China, Korean society is paying more and more attention to China. The ratings of the documentary "Super China" filmed by KBS in 2015 exceeded 10%.It is a horrible figure. In contrast, the ratings of China ’s hottest shows except Spring Festival Gala are also difficult to exceed 2%. Another notable figure is that in South Korea, nearly 2.5 million tourists will visit China in 2019., Equivalent to one-twentieth of the Korean population.

It can be said that Koreans' understanding of China is becoming deeper, more detailed and three-dimensional due to China's growing strength.

This also makes people have to lament that the Korean elite has a keen observation and timely response to world trends. This may also make Korea, which was still one of the poorest countries in the world at the beginning of the founding of the country, later grew intoOne of the reasons for the world's 11th largest economy.

References :

Analysis of the Destiny of Chinese Characters in South Korea, Zhang Li, Gao Na, Journal of Shandong University of Technology 2019-11-15

"Necessity and Feasibility Study of Korean Character Education", Yu Qinhao-Suzhou University-2011

"Research on Chinese Characters and Teaching of Korean Characters", Zhao Yunjing, Fudan Foreign Language and Literature Series 2009-09-15

* This article is provided by the author and does not represent the position of the Earth Knowledge Agency

Cover image from: shutter @ Sean Pavone


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