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Korea : Place Names and Culture

   Living in Korea, you have to deal with place names, especially when you go out for sightseeing. As the saying goes, the place of life is not familiar, it can be seen that "life" mainly comes from "unfamiliar land", and it can also be seen that the importance of "land". Fortunately, Korean culture has been deeply influenced by Chinese culture in history, and many place names are named after Chinese characters, with roughly the same pronunciation. In 1988, Japanese linguist Masaki Nomura put forward the concept of "Chinese Character Cultural Circle", pointing out that within the scope of East Asia, due to China's political and cultural influence, the regions that used Chinese characters in the past or still use Chinese characters are collectively referred to as "Chinese characters". Chinese Character Cultural Circle". Korea is in this cultural circle.

  According to scholars' research, around the 1st century AD, Chinese characters were exported by sea and land, and people on the Korean Peninsula accepted Chinese characters, ending the history of no writing. In 668, Silla unified most of the Korean peninsula, widely absorbed Chinese culture, and actively imitated the Tang Dynasty system. When Wang’s Goryeo feudal dynasty (918-1392) unified the Korean peninsula, the imperial examination system was established in imitation of China, and Chinese classics became must-read books for Koryo scholars, thus stabilizing the “orthodox” status of Chinese characters. Archives, etc., are mostly recorded in Chinese characters. After Li Chenggui established Li’s North Korea, measures such as “Ketian Law” and “Respect for Confucianism” were implemented in imitation of the Han system. It was passed down for 26 generations. In 1897, the country was renamed “Daehan”. After "World War II", North Korea and South Korea successively abolished Chinese characters and used Hangeul, while South Korea allowed "the use of Chinese characters when necessary within a certain period of time." According to the statistics of the book, the Korean "Mandarin Dictionary" contains 64,355 words, including "words directly from Chinese and words created by Koreans using Chinese characters". There are 29,222 Chinese words in total, accounting for 29,222 words. 45.41%, which is more than 0.97% of the total Korean "intrinsic words", 15 times the foreign words "mainly from English" (1949 in total), and 6.4 times the compound words (4558 in total). The origin of Chinese characters is very deep. Koreans started to use Chinese characters to make Korean place names phonetic, and later used Chinese characters to name cities, so many place names have Chinese characters that can be translated, which is not only convenient for people like me who do not know Korean You can get a glimpse of Korean culture through this.

  First of all, Korean and Chinese are very close in terms of place name labeling and pronunciation, such as Taebaek, Wonju, Yangsao, YeongCheon, Gwacheon, Yeosu, Cheonan ), Chunfncheon, Chungju, Gimje, Gimpo, Goyang, Gumi (6um), Gunpo, Gunsan, Jeju (Jeju-si)... When you go out and ask for directions, the least obstacle is the place name. Generally speaking, Chinese people do not hesitate to ask for the place name in Korea. As long as the Chinese character is exported, the other party will basically know where you are going. According to scholars' research, many Chinese place names have also been transplanted into South Korea due to the succession of Chinese characters, and some place names are still in use today, such as Hanjiang, Xiangyang, Hanyang, Danyang, Jiangling, etc., which are the same as the name of Chu, Hubei, China. These place names have been set up more than 600 years ago. Some scholars believe that Korean culture and Hubei Chu culture are closely related, which has attracted great attention from Korean academic circles and media. Whether Korean culture is homologous to Hubei Chu culture deserves further study, but it is an indisputable fact that Korean place names transplanted with Chinese characters are still in use today.

  In South Korea, some ancient place names are so well preserved that it is almost impossible to see their "demolition" and replacement by "modernization". Of course, in this mottled quaint, there are also modern figures, such as Incheon Passenger Station, Munhak Stadium, National Assembly Hall, Incheon International Airport, Technology Park, and International Business Park; also, the naming of places reflects South Korea's emphasis on education The characteristics of the transportation area, all university offices are named after the university, which makes people clear at a glance: Ewha Womans University, Incheon University, Hongik University, Korea University, University of Foreign Studies, Seoul National University, Dongguk University, Konkuk University, Hanyang University , Soongsil University, Sookmyung Women's University, Sungkyunkwan University, Gyeongin University of Education, Sungshin Women's University, Seoul University, Education University...

  Of course, most place names still maintain the original appearance of history and culture. For example, cultural relics include Changdeokgung Palace, Changgyeonggung Palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, Gwanghwamun Gate, Dongdaemun, West Gate Heunginji Gate, Sungnyemun Gate, Bongeun Temple, Bonwon Temple, Jogyesa Temple, Hongeun-dong, Hongji-dong, Hyoja-dong, Cheongun-dong, Hwanghak-dong, etc.; Memorial Hall of King Sejong the Great, Sejong University, Sejong Road, Sejong Road Park, Sejong Cultural Center, Shilla Duty Free Shop, Baekje, Korea University, Korea Pavilion, etc. Of course, the place names that best reflect the characteristics of traditional culture are those named after Confucian values ​​and auspicious terms. On the subway map of Greater Seoul, you often see station names that match the following words: Junzi, Yangcai, Chongsil, Neifang, Cheonan, Zhonghe, Wangyou, Yangzheng, Gaode, Mingyi, Anyang, Kongde, Rende, Xiaochang, Jiyin... With addresses, there are Zhongzheng Road, Xiaochang Park, Sookmyung Women's University, Zhenxin Women's High School, etc., and these reflect the cultural values ​​of traditional Chinese Confucianism.

  South Korea is a peninsula country, 70% of the country is mountainous and hilly, of which the area at an altitude of 500-1,000 meters accounts for about half of the country's land area, and the area above 1,000 meters above sea level accounts for more than 25%. The hills are mostly concentrated in the northeast region, while the southwest is an endless plain, which is also the barn of Korea. The eastern coastline of the peninsula is relatively straight and deep, the western coastline is more tortuous and shallow, and the southern coast is zigzag and many bays, with 3,400 large and small islands distributed. In such a geographical environment, the hills and mountains in Korea are undulating, the peaks are green, and the scenery is beautiful. It is known as "three thousand miles of beautiful rivers and mountains". Once, I traveled from Suwon Station to the famous Onyang Hot Spring in South Korea. At that time, the late rice was about to mature, and bursts of pale yellow appeared. In the green, it looked particularly dazzling. From a distance, the pale yellow was floating, the vegetation was hazy, yellow-green. Alternately, the mountains are verdant, the mountains are far and the water is near, and the buildings are hidden among them, which makes people sigh. And this kind of geographical features also leaves traces in the names of electric railway stations and places, allowing you to find the coincidences one by one - such as spring, such as Yishan, Ermei, Sansong, such as flower fields, flowering, near flowers, Huawutai, Paifang, Fangyi, Evergreen, East Tree. As far as the types of flowers and trees are concerned, there are many pine trees in Korea, and there are many kinds of pine, so the place names are Songnai, Songting, Songpo, and other places named after flowers and trees are Wuliudong, Lishui, Meifeng, Peony, Xiliu; In terms of mountains and rocks, there are Guishan, Qianyan, Guishan, Geshan, Zhongdong, Jianshi, Boshan, Wengyan, Heishi, Mogu, and Lvshaping; in terms of water, there are Shuishe, Yuzhuangshan, Lishui, Warm water, Qingtan, and Lishui; among the mountains and rivers, there should be animals, especially birds. Such place names are Noryangjin, Lude, Apgujeong, Fengming, Yingfeng, Tongque, Magpie, Magpie Mountain, and Lucheon. etc. What is more striking is that Koreans are more fond of cranes, the place names are Linhe, Xianhe, Hedong, Hetan, Fanghe, accompanied by Banyue, Yuexi, Yuegu, Yuelong and other names. And the moon cage reminds AZ of the poem "Smoke cage cold water moon cage sand". The landscape is beautiful, and the products must be rich, which also leaves traces in the place names, such as charcoal inkstone, paper millet, Zengmi, orange inkstone, Tongyan, Daohe, Taoyuan, Magu, Silkworm Courtyard, Jamsil, Yaoshui, Mudong, Daogu, Xingtang, Susha, Yancang, Horse Farm, Seocho, Juxiu, Taonong, Taoshen, Zhixing, Douchuan, Dayewei, Guzhan, Yigu, Yicun... When these place names— - When you pass it in front of your eyes, you will know what the local produce is roughly. They reflect the characteristics of South Korea, which was once a predominantly agricultural country. Looking at these place names, you can feel that agricultural civilization and natural scenery complement each other, and you can see the scenery of mountains and waters.

  Place names are the concentration of history, the carrier of culture, and a special "intangible cultural heritage". Each vivid place name is itself a cultural symbol, conveying a message that the ancient and the modern are connected by blood. When people travel in Korea, they encounter place names everywhere. There are thousands of place names, and the ancient and the modern are always related. What I want to explain here is that the motivation for writing this article was that I was going to Seoul for sightseeing, so I asked the teaching assistant to print a map of the electric railway and subway in the greater Seoul area. contributed to this article. In other words, the names of the places mentioned above are mainly from the electric railway and subway maps in the Greater Seoul area. If you collect the station names and place names all over Korea, and carefully classify and study them, you will have more gains.



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