중앙데일리

What’s in a name?

Corea, Coree and Daehanminguk all mean the same

Mar 02,2003
The following is a tip on traditional Korean language and customs in response to a query from Ms. Papworth, who wrote to us from Seoul:

Q. Ms. Papworth:
Korean people know themselves as Hanguk and their country as Daehanminguk, but most of the rest of the world says Korea. So where does “Korea” come from?

By the same token, why is Australia Hoju, the United States Miguk, France Bullanseo, England Yeongguk and so forth?

A. IHT-JAD:
The word Korea is derived from one of Korea’s ancient dynasties, Goryeo. It was during the Goryeo Dynasty when the country became known to the West.

In days gone by, because of Spanish influence, it was called “Coree” or “Corea.” During the Japanese colonial period, the spelling was arbitrarily changed to Korea because alphabetically Corea preceded Japan. Since then, Korea became an official name in the international community.

Among Koreans, though, their country has always been Daehanminguk, which literally means People’s Republic of the Great Han, or Hanguk for short. Han refers to Korean ethnicity, which is distinguished from the Chinese or Mongolian races.

Hangugeo, or the Korean language, was developed during the Joseon Dynasty, but for many centuries the language used in the peninsula incorporated many Chinese characters because Korea was deeply influenced by China. Chinese expressions to call Western countries were subsequently introduced to Korea, and even until today Koreans simply pronounce the Chinese characters the Korean way.


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