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How to learn Korean vocabulary faster | Korean Radicals


In Korean, there is a different writing system called “Hanja”. These are Chinese characters. Only Korean words of Chinese origin have a corresponding Hanja character(s). Each Hanja character is composed of one of 214 radicals! Radicals are small pieces that can help you deduce the meaning of many vocabulary words.


The Hanja: 中

The Korean Word: 중

Definition: Middle

중-학교 = Middle school

중-급 = Intermediate/mid level


Hanja:上 = 상 = Above/High

Hanja: 下 = 하 = Underneath/Below

Hanja: 初 = 초 = Beginning

Hanja: 中 = 중 = Middle

Hanja: 日 = 일 = Day

Hanja: 月 = 월 = Month

Hanja: 年 = 년 = Year

Hanja: 口 = 구 = Mouth/Opening


Hanja:上 = 상 = Above/High

인상하다 = raise, increase

천상 = heaven, celestial

지상 = top (the highest)

상체 = upper body

상반기 = first half of a year, first half

상원 = upper house, the senate

상공 = high sky, midair

상기 = the above, being aforementioned

상단 = top, upper end, upper part

상승 = rise, increase

상하 = top and bottom, upper and

lower classes, high and low

Hanja: 下 = 하 = Underneath/Below

인하하다 = reduce, cut, decrease

천하 = being second to none

지하 = basement, afterlife, underground

지하철 = subway

하체 = lower body

하반기 = second half of a year, second half

하반기 영화 = second half of movie

Hanja: 初 = 초 = Beginning

초등학교 = elementary school

초등학생 = elementary students

초면 = stranger, first meeting

초보 = beginner level, first step

초보자 = beginner

초반 = early stage, initial phase

초봄 = early spring

초연 = premiere, debut

초로 = early old age

초안 = first draft, draft, rough plan

Hanja: 中 = 중 = Middle

중학교 = middle school

중급 = Intermediate level

중앙= middle, capital, being central

한밤중 = midnight, middle of the night

중순 = being mid

오월 중순 = mid May, middle of May

도중 = being on the way, being in the middle

중거리 = being mid distance, mid range

중심 = cente, confidence

중도 = being in the middle, being on the way

중립 = neutrality, being neutral, indifferent

중반 = middle stage, middle phase

중서부 = the mid west, the middle west

중세 시대 =the middle ages, medieval

중년 = middle aged, middle age

Hanja: 日 = 일 = Day

내일 = tomorrow

매일 = everyday

일상 = daily

하루종일 = all day long

생일 = birthday

기념일 = anniversary

발매일 = date of issue, release date

사망일 = date of death, death day

완공일 = time of completion

출시일 = release date, launch date

당일 = that day, within the same day

월요일= Monday

화요일= Tuesday

수요일 = Wednesday


Hanja: 月 = 월 = Month

월급 = salary, monthly wage

월세 = monthly rent, rental fee

매월 = every month

월요일 = Monday

월간 = being monthly;

monthly publication , monthly issue

월경 = menstruation, flow

월초 =beginning of the month

월말 = end of the month

정월 = January

1월 = January

2월 = February

3월 = March


Hanja: 年 = 년 = Year

작년 = last year

내년 = next year

매년 = every year

금년 = this year

학년 = school year, grade

생년 = year of birth

생년월일 = date of birth

Hanja: 口 = 구 = Mouth/Opening

입구 = entrance

출구 = exit

입출구 = entrance and exit

구내 = inside of a building


That's all for this lesson! Of course there are way more radicals a d way more vocabulary than I mentioned in this post.

Here’s a tip to get more words like this:

Google one of these radicals, type “Korean words that start/end with [Insert radical]”. For example, I searched Korean words that start with 초 and was able to find a lot of words. Not every word that is listed will be a radical, but you can use a translator/dictionary to figure it out. I recommend this website: ezglot (It worked pretty well for me, but there are probably better sites).

HowtostudyKorean also has done a lot of good lessons on Hanja. You can see the hanja and stroke order plus a few example words.

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William Hallas
William Hallas
Sep 12, 2023

After another article I want to say that I'm tired :( To be honest I'm already dreaming so much about online work. I want to go traveling, live in different countries, especially Korea. I also want to visit coit tower . How beautiful it is there. This is my dream for a long time. Maybe someday I will be lucky

Sep 14, 2023
Replying to

You can do it! it took me awhile, but I was able to go to Korea. I’m still working on getting enough money to travel more and live in other countries, but If I can do it - so can you! It’s totally possible, so just do what you can to work towards your dream.

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