Welcome to another 漢字 배우자! post~! Today we’ll be looking at “야.”
If you watch Korean dramas, I’m sure you’ve heard “야!” being yelled at someone plenty of times. It’s sort of like yelling “Hey!” at someone to get their attention or let them know they need to back off. However, the 야—or, rather, the 야s—that we will be looking at today are a bit different.
I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of words using “야” in them over the course of your Korean studies, including (but certainly not limited to) words like 야근, 야구, 야채, 야시장, 야외, 야생… The list goes on! But did you know these words are derived from 한자? In the short list of vocab above, we have two different 야s. Let’s check them out to see how they contribute to the meaning of the words we find them in.
들 야 野
Our first 야 is 들 (field) 야 野. Words that contain this character are related to nature and the outdoors. for example:
들 야 野, 나물 ([edible] plant/vegetable) 채 菜
If we combine these two characters, we get a word that literally means “field plant” or “field vegetable.” Simply, we can just call these vegetables!
들 野; 바깥 (outside) 외 外
Made of a combination of “field” and “outside,” 야외 野外 simply refers to the outdoors or outside. For example, you can enjoy a show at a 야외 극장, or an outdoor/open-air theater.
들 野, 날 (to appear) 생 生
야생 野生 refers to something that has appeared from the field. In English, we could simply say that this word refers to things that are wild or in the wild. An example is 야생 식물, or “wild plants/vegetation.”
들 野, 공 (ball) 구 球
This combo of “field” + “ball” gives us a very literal description of “baseball!”
평평할 (flat, even) 평 平, 들 野
This one is also very literal. This word refers to a flat field, or a plain.
나눌 (to divide) 분 分, 들 野
분야 分野 refers to a division of an area. In English we could translate 분야 to “field,” as in someone’s 연구 분야 (research field).
밤 야 夜
Our second 야 is 밤 (night) 야 夜. It’s pretty self-explanatory! Words containing this character will have something to do with nighttime.
밤 夜, 부지런할 (diligent, hard-working) 근 勤
What is being diligent or hard-working at night called…? Overtime! 야근 夜勤 is super-common in Korean companies. If you don’t stay late on the regular, your boss might not think you’re sufficiently committed!
밤 夜, 저자 (old term for “market”) 시 市, 마당 (garden, yard) 장 場
야시장 夜市場 is a pretty literal word meaning “night market.”
밤 夜, 사이 (space) 간 間
야간 夜間 refers to the space of the night or, far more naturally, “night time.” For example, you could say something occurred at night (야간에), or you can ask your male Korean friends who have gone to the army how they feel about 야간 근무 (night duty). On second thought, they might be trying to forget…
밤 夜, 경치 (scenery) 경 景
A combination of “night” + “scenery”, 야경 夜景 refers to the night views. A lot of tourists in Seoul like to go to Namsan Tower to check out the 야경 from up high! If you decide to go, make sure you go on a day when the air is clear or you might be disappointed.
밤 夜, 밥 (rice, meal) 식 食
A meal at night… This is the Korean word for “midnight snack”!
밤 夜, 다닐 (to go, frequent) 행 行, 성품 (characteristic) 성 性
Something that has the characteristic of going around at night is nocturnal. How many 야행성 夜行性 animals can you think of?