If you’ve watched Korean dramas or interviews of K-pop idol groups, you may have noticed that there are certain Korean words that sound similar to Chinese words. The Korean language is actually related to Chinese because 60% of the Sino-Korean words originally come from Chinese characters, which are called 漢字 (Hànzì) or 한자 (Hanja).
Since 194 BC, Chinese characters have seen widespread use in neighboring East Asian countries like Korea.
Also, Koreans have long been familiar with the Chinese language through Chinese scripts in Korea that dates back to 37 BC. Sino-Korean words were mostly used during the Three Kingdoms period in Korea, particularly in the Silla period in 677 AD. The Chinese influence stems from its close military ties with China’s Tang Dynasty in 677 AD.
Sino-Korean words are borrowed from original Chinese words, as well as Korean adaptations from the Chinese characters with Korean pronunciation. These words can be written in both Hanja/Hanzi and Hangul. They are usually used in formal contexts and for complex expressions which can be found in print materials. That’s why it’s common to hear familiar Chinese words with Korean pronunciation from your favorite Korean actors and idols.
Curious to know Sino-Korean words? Here are 5 common Chinese words that sound similar to Korean words and have the same meanings:
1. 王 (wáng) and 왕 (wang)
If you’ve been watching Chinese and Korean historical dramas, then you probably know that both 王 (wáng) and 왕 (wang) are the titles used to refer to a king. Both words are also used to describe the highest ruler of the country since the historical periods in China and Korea.
2. 班長 (bān zhǎng) and 반장 (banjang)
In Chinese and Korean, there is a similar word for the position elected by the class or the headteacher that you’ll encounter in Chinese school. 班長 (bān zhǎng) and 반장 (banjang) are the terms for the class monitor or class president. The term is also frequently used in Chinese and Korean dramas for the righteous student-leader main leads that many of you love.
3. 感動 (gǎn dòng) and 감동된 (gamdongdoen)
If you ever feel touched or moved by someone or something, you can use 感動 (gǎn dòng) and 감동된 (gamdongdoen) to express your deepest feelings in Chinese and Korean. Make sure to not forget these special words when you get the chance to talk to your favorite Chinese and Korean idols!
4. 同意 (tóng yì) and 동의 (dong-ui)
Do you want to express your agreement with someone’s opinion or assert your approval over a person’s request? You can use 同意 (tóngyì) and 동의 (dong-ui) or 동의하다 (dong-uihada) for your conversations with any native Chinese and Koreans and impress them with your skills. Don’t forget to give a thumbs up with a smile!
5. 市场 (shì chǎng) and 시장 (sijang)
Travel lovers should take note of 市场 (shì chǎng) and 시장 (sijang), if they’re looking and going to the market in China and Korea. These words are one of the most essential words that travelers should know and remember! Always take note that “chang” and “jang” have different pronunciations, even though they sound similar.