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From Seoul

skylee

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I am now in Seoul. The city is much more tourist-friendly than when I first visited it solo over 10 years ago. There is English on most signs in Seoul now. And there are Chinese characters too. But sometimes I can't help but wonder if the Chinese characters are supposed to be Chinese, or Japanese Kanji or their own Hanja. Sometimes the characters don't look quite right if they are meant to be Chinese.

Look at the first two picturs. There is something very wrong in the first one, at least it is not in line with the common understanding AFAIK. I am not sure if it is intentional. Is the term 正体字(not 正體字) used to refer to simplified characters at all?

The 昇 in the third picture is wrong AFAIK.

I was quite speechless when I saw the sign in the fourth picture. 乳母車?貸與? They can't be right, right?

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PS - additional picture added on 29.4.2014. This is relevant to the fifth reply below.

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I wonder (I don't know a lick of Korean) if the Chinese characters are more or less just a transcription in 漢字 of the Korean words, with the assumption that Chinese people will be able to figure it out? I mean, that's what happens all the time with English in Taiwan, and I generally have to look at the Chinese to know what the English means.  :lol:

 

Actually, I see incorrect Japanese all the time here too, and that was the official language in Taiwan until 1945.

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I can't speak Korean either. But I can read hanguel, though very slowly, as I have studied the korean alphabets for my first solo travel to Korea.

Re the fourth picture, the Korean on the left is 유모차 대어 (yumocha daeyeo), so it seems possible that 乳母車貸與 is Hanja. :)

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And looking at the lift/elevator one, 昇降機 is the hanja for 승강기, which according to Wiktionary is used as well as 엘리베이터. However, I have a feeling it is also the equivalent Japanese kanji; 乳母車 is also standard kanji for a pram/stroller; and even though it'd probably be written 貸与 in 新字体, たいよ is the standard word for lending, alongside the other one レンタル. So it's probably a case of having 舊字體 Japanese everywhere.

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I think that perhaps it is just Hanja. Perhaps when the characters are meant to be Chinese, they will be in the simplified form and will be accompanied by Japanese.

PS - But in the third picture the Korean for "elevator" is the Hanguel transliteration of the English term, not 승강기. It is so confusing.

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Today I went to an exhibition featuring some Chinese artists at the Seoul Museum of Art. See the additional fifth picture in the blog post above. What I find interesting in the picture is how Chinese names are expressed in Korean.

I had assumed that a Chinese name would be expressed in its Korean equivalent, such as 李 as 이. But according to the picture it seems I was wrong. Here 李 in the name of the artist 李暐 has become 리. And the most intriguing are the names 繆曉春 (미아오시아오춘 / mi.a.o.si.a.o.chun) and 張小濤 (잔시아오타오 / jang.si.a.o.ta.o). The iao and ao have become very clumsy syllables.

I am not sure if this is the standard way of translation of Chinese names into Korean. Is it because the words 繆 / 曉 / 小 / 濤 do not exist in Korean that they are presented this way? Or, could it be that the translation is based on their names in Hanyu Pinyin rather than their names in Chinese characters? Anyone knows?

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Yes I know about 리. IIRC there was a South Korean President whose name was Rhee, presumably based on 리.

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I think for the name they rather use korean pronunciation and hangul for all the names rather than hanja... it will be weird if in that list some are written in hanja and some n hangeul.. usually they put brackets though and inside the chinese characters there).. Just IMO

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