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소인 - 小人

Discussion in '한국어 (Korean)' started by ShakeyX, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. ShakeyX Senior Member

    British English

    Just wanted to clear up the whole usage of modern day Hanja in Korean. In the attached image where it says:

    소인 - 小人 for example. Is the Hanja actually a tourist, chinese translation of 소인 or is this an example of Hanja being used to narrow down the meaning as 소인 (at least separately) have many different homonyms. SO far I've came across 소 meaning small, cow and burnt in "Soju".

    So yeh in short is this an example for Korean purposes or for Chinese tourists? (I guess regardless Chinese tourists would understand it however I'm more interested in it's intended purpose for the Korean language.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2014
  2. Kross

    Kross Senior Member

    (This is my pure speculation, so I might be mistaken.)

    There are 小人 and CHILD are placed next to 소인 on the board. I guess 小人 is intended for Chinese speakers and CHILD for English speakers. As the Korean government strives to provide a growing number of international tourists and inhabitants with a better touring experience, you can see these kinds of information boards at the entrance of most sightseeing spots on which foreign languages (mostly English, Japanese, or Chinese) are shown along with the Korean words . You can also hear announcements spoken in those languages at any subway station and even in the cars. #Visit S.Korea, the most dynamic nation. :) (This is the slogan the government is using to promote the tourism.)
  3. gahando New Member

    Spanish - Colombia, English
    Even though there are homonyms, because of the context, any Korean would know that 소인 in this case is referring to child (I just looked up 소인 on Naver, found that it can mean 'postmark', among other things).

    Koreans only include Hanja on things when it is either a) for Chinese tourists or b) because the writer feels there needs to be a clarification as to what is being written. Here is an example from a newspaper article on 사자성어/고사성어. I think perhaps the author was a bit liberal with the 한자 but yeah, it is for clarification in the article.
    To conclude, in your picture, it is for Chinese tourists, not to clarify what 소인 is (even tough 소인 has more than one definition).
    Sorry I can't post links. Apparently new members are not allowed.
  4. ShakeyX Senior Member

    British English
    Thanks for your help.

    It does seem weird though, if it were the case that it was for chines tourists why is there no Chinese representation for "Opening Hours.

    Also doing a quick Google/Wiktionary search is showing me that Child in Mandarin is represented by 孩子 or 小孩 and that 小人 can mean Villain or Person of low position, but it doesn't say Child.


    I may still be wrong but these things just seem odd to me, cause a Chinese tourist wouldn't get all the translations due to it being missing on other parts of the sign, and also would surely read 小人 as something strange.
  5. vientito Senior Member

    Ever heard of bad translation? But any chinese person could have guessed the meaning even though that's not the way it's used normally, since literally it means a person of smaller stature.
  6. Kross

    Kross Senior Member

    I don't know why Hanja in Korea has evolved differently from its counterpart in China. It's because there were a long time period of no interaction between the two countries in the past? Anyway this is the way we use it.

    I agree. If I were a Chinese tourist, I would feel discomfortable with some of key information not provided at strange sites. I think those problems are going to be fixed with time.

    Sorry to say that you are not correct here. 소인 has more than 1 meaning. So its true meaning can be decided depending on the context. According to Daum, it says that 소인 has the meaning of a child. Take a look at the second definition. (http://dic.daum.net/word/view.do?wordid=kew000041522&q=소인&page=1)
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2014
  7. ShakeyX Senior Member

    British English
    You misunderstood. I know 소인 can mean child, i was saying that in Chinese (not just using chinese characters but actually in China) 小人 isn't used to mean "child".

    This can be answered by what someone said that simply this is a bad translation for chinese people who would read it as "Villain" (but understand it as Child in context) but I was hypothesising that due to 소인 having more than one meaning and it being the Hangul reading of 小人 that this was simply put there to add that context for Koreans that you were talking about.

    Of course people are saying it is not, but I thought this was the very reason Hanja was used in Korea, to aid the reading of Sino-Korean homonyms. Then again it could just be for Chinese tourists and be a bad translation as stated, but I'm just confirming i know that 소인 means child.

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