Korean Folk Art: Letter Painting (문자도 文字圖)

The Korean Folk Letter Painting (문자도, Munja-do, lit. Character Drawing, also known as 꽃글씨, Ggeotgeulssi, lit. Flower Calligraphy) is a type of Korean Folk painting (Min-Hwa, 민화). The genre originated during the Jeoson dynasty in the 18th and 19th centuries. In Folk Letter painting, Chinese characters are drawn, usually in black, and then richly ornamented with symbols pertaining to the meaning of the calligraphied Chinese characters.

Chinese root of the day: 用 (용)

용 (yong) (用) means "to use" and is a very common root in Korean. However grasping the small differences in meaning between the different words that use 용 can be quite tricky. Here's a small list with some explanations. The Korean words given in parenthesis after the definition are words that share the same chinese root as the defined word.

이롭게 씀
to profit from, to employ well, to take advantage of

물건을 씀
사람 따위를 부림.
to use things. to employ people

이용 and 사용 are probably the two more common words on this list especially in their verbal "-하다" form (사용하다, 이용하다). They're usually both translated as to use, although it seems that 이용하다 conveys an idea of profit which is not implied by 사용하다.

품삯을 주고 사람을 부림
to employ and give wages to someone

공적으로 씀
to use in common. for public use. (공공: public)

지나치게 씀
to use excessively (과다: excess)

Korean word of the day : 장

장 (jang) is an ubiquitous morpheme in Korean, it has however many different senses.

Korean superlatives : 최 (最)

The prefix 최 (最) is used in combination with other sino-korean roots to give the meaning of "the most". It is used in many common words such as:

최악 (악 = 惡 = evil), choe-ak : the worst
최고 (고 = 高 = high), choe-go : the highest, the best, supreme
최적 (적 = 適 = match, appropriate), choe-jeok : the most suitable, optimal
최후 (후 = 後 = after), choe-hoo : the last, the ultimate
최근 (근 = 近 = close, near), choe-geun : the most recent
최귀 (귀 = 貴 = precious), choe-geui : the most precious
최급 (급 = 急 = urgent), choe-geup : the most urgent
최상 (상 = 上 = upper, first class), choe-sang : the best, topnotch, the highest grade
최선 (선 = 善 = good, virtue), choe-seon : one's best (최선을 다하다: do one's best)
최소 (소 = 小 = small), choe-so : the smallest
최신 (신 = 新 = new), choe-shin : the newest
최장 (장 = 長 = long), choe-jang : the longest
최저 (저 = 低 = low), choe-joe : the lowest, minimum

Chinese root of the day: 資 (자)

資 or 자 in hangul means "property" or "funds". It is used as a root in the following words:

투자 投資 (throw-funds) : investment
자본 資本 (funds-source) : capital (자본주의: capitalism)
융자 融資 (blend-funds) : financing
자원 資源 (funds-origin) : natural resources
자료 資料 (funds-material) : data, study material

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