Korea used to use Chinese characters all the time, but Korea now uses its own writing system (hangul). But if you’re coming to Korea, there are still some situations where you will see Chinese characters in many places in Korea. Find out what the must-know Chinese characters are if you’re coming to Korea!
小 – Small (소/so) | 中 – Medium (중/jung) | 大 – Large (대/dae)
These three super simple Chinese characters are used commonly in Korean restaurants. For dishes that come in different sizes, many Korean restaurants will use these three Chinese characters on menus to show the different prices for different sized portions. These are some of the simplest and most commonly seen Chinese characters seen in Korea. Make sure you know these when you’re in Korea!
Tip 1: An easy way to remember to medium (中/중/jung) is remember the line going down the middle (aka medium).
Tip 2: Think of large (大/대/dae) as a person spreading his arms and legs to try to look bigger.
男 – Male (남자/namja) | 女 – Female (여자/yeoja)
These two Chinese characters are also found commonly in Korea, usually at bars and restaurants for bathrooms. These characters can usually be seen at Japanese style izakayas (bars), but Korean bars and restaurants often use these simple Chinese characters as well.These two characters are absolute must-know Chinese characters if you’re going to be in Korea… unless you’re a fan of awkward bathroom moments.
Tip: A popular way to remember the chinese character for female (女) is to think of it as a woman crossing her legs 😉