At the beginning of the month, during Chuseok, I decided I wanted to try learn Hanja to help improve my Korean vocabulary. Initially, I was going to purchase Talk To Me in Korean’s Hanja Guide book because it has explanations in English plus other words where the characters appear therefore increasing my vocabulary. However, after talking with my fiance about my intentions of purchasing the book online he suggested we go visit our local book shop and buy a Hanja book aimed at beginners. The book would be in Korean therefore I’d be studying Korean whilst studying Hanja – this made a lot more sense so we went to the book shop and managed to find “쉽게 따는 행복한 급수한자 8급”. Later in Seoul, I bought a notebook to practice my Hanja stroke order which has become really useful as after Chuseok I didn’t have time to study Hanja, and so the repetition of writing the characters has helped me remember the meanings and order.
After studying the first 20 characters in the book again in my notebook I gave myself a test to see how well I remembered the meanings, pronunciations, and the Hanja itself.
For characters that have more stroke orders I’m planning on using 2 pages to get more used to writing them. In the book there’s a short quiz at the end of every set of 10 characters (they are put together based on the topic, i.e the days of the week, numbers etc) and one of the questions at the end of the quiz usually shows you a character with a red line on one of the strokes and asks you what number is that stroke in the stroke order (see photo below – Question 5). There is a Hanja exam people can take after every level so that type of question will probably appear in the exam often.
I’m currently on level 8 (the lowest level) and plan to take the Hanja exam once I’ve completed levels 8 and 7 because level 8 only has 50 characters whereas level 7 has 150 and I feel like taking the level 8 exam would be a waste of money.
So there are 8 levels in total – with level 1 being the top and level 8 being the lowest. Level 8 contains 50 characters and level 1 contains 3,500 characters so there’s a huge difference in the amount of Hanja to memorise! Most young kids start to learn Hanja in primary school so by the time they reach high school they know a large amount of Hanja.
For those that are interested here are the Hanja you will learn at level 8:
- The hangul in italics are the pronunciation of the Hanja.
月 – 달 월 火 – 불 화 水 – 물 수 木 – 나무 목 金 – 쇠 금 / 김
土 – 흙 토 日 – 날 일 小 – 작을 소 白 – 횐 백 山 – 뫼 산
一 – 한 일 二 – 두 이 三– 석 삼 四 – 넉 사 五 다섯 오
六 여섯 육 七 – 일곱 칠 八 – 여덟 팔 九 아홉 구 十 – 열 십
東 – 동녘 동 西 – 서녘 서 南 -남녘 남 北 – 북녘 북 大 – 큰 대
韓 – 나라 한 民 – 백성 민 國 – 나라 국 女 – 계집 녀 軍 – 군사 군
父 – 아비 부 母 – 어미 모 兄 – 형 형 弟 – 아우 제 外 – 바깥 외
寸– 마디 촌 萬 – 일만 만 人 – 사람 인 靑 – 푸를 청 年 – 해 년
學 – 배울 학 校 – 학교 교 長 – 길/어른 장 敎 – 가르칠 교 室 – 집 실
中– 가운데 중 問 – 문 문 先 – 먼저 선 生 – 날 생 王 – 임금 왕