Names of Seoul

(Redirected from Gyeongseong)

Seoul, the capital of South Korea, has been called by a number of formal and informal names over time.

An early 20th century trading card from Germany, using an alternate spelling of Seoul, with "ö" for "eo".

It was called Wiryeseong (위례성; 慰禮城) or Hanseong (한성; 漢城) in the Baekje period (18 BC – 660 AD), Bukhansangun (Korean북한산군; Hanja北漢山郡) in the Goguryeo period (37 BC – 668 AD), Hanyang in the Northern and Southern States period (698–926), Namgyeong (남경; 南京) in the Goryeo period (918–1392), Hanyangbu (한양부; 漢陽府) under Mongol rule (1270–1356), and Hanseong (한성; 漢城) or Hanyang (한양; 漢陽) in the Joseon period (1392–1897).

During the Joseon era, it started to be called Seoul by the public. In the middle of Joseon era, Hanseong and Hanyang were almost replaced by Seoul and remained only formal names.[1] During the period of Japanese colonial rule, Seoul was referred to by the Japanese exonym Keijō (京城), or the Korean reading of that name Gyeongseong. After World War II and Korea's liberation, the city officially adopted its current name.[2]

Etymology of "Seoul" edit

Seoul is a rendering of the Korean word "seo'ul" (서울), pronounced [səˈul]. An etymological hypothesis is that the origin of the native word "seo'ul" derives from the native name Seorabeol (서라벌; 徐羅伐),[3] which originally referred to Gyeongju, the capital of Silla, which was then called Geumseong (금성; 金城).[4]

Gyeongseong edit

Revised RomanizationGyeongseong

"Gyeongseong" is a Sino-Korean word for "capital city". Gyeong (; ) means "capital" and seong (; ) means "walled city". It was in occasional use to refer to Seoul throughout the Joseon dynasty,[5][6] having earlier referred to the capitals of Goryeo and Silla. The term came into much wider use during the period of Japanese rule because it is also the Korean form of Keijō (京城), the former Japanese name, which was used for Seoul during the colonial rule.

Seoul was called "Hanseong" (漢城) or "Hanyang" (漢陽) during the Joseon dynasty but the city's main railway station, Seoul Station, opened with the name "Gyeongseong Station" (京城驛) in 1900, which it retained until 1905.[7] It was then called Gyeongseong Station again from 1923 to 1947, when it assumed its current name.[8][9]

Gyeong is still used to refer to Seoul in the names of various railway lines and freeways, including:

Korean Hanja and Chinese Hanzi confusion edit

Unlike most other place names in Korea, "Seoul" has no corresponding Hanja (Chinese characters used to write the Korean language). This has caused problems in translating between Chinese and Korean, as Chinese terms for Korean places often are a direct reading of the Hanja names. Until recently, some Chinese sources used the older name "Hanseong" (한성; 漢城) to refer to Seoul, as that term does have corresponding Hanja.[10]

However, this led to some confusion. For example, the name of Seoul National University (서울대학교; 서울大學校) would be rendered as "Hanseong University", but there already is a university that goes by that exact reading in Chinese: Hansung University (한성대학교; 漢城大學校).[10]

Beginning in 2005, the Seoul City Government under Lee Myung-bak designated a new Chinese term for Seoul: Chinese: 首爾; Chinese: 首尔; pinyin: Shǒu'ěr.[11][12] The name was chosen by a select committee out of two names, the other being 首午爾; Shǒuwu'ěr.[12]

The chosen name is a close transliteration of Seoul in Mandarin Chinese; (shǒu) can also mean "first" or "capital". For some time after the name change, Chinese-language news media have used both names interchangeably during their publications or broadcasts (首爾 [漢城] in print,[13] 首爾, 以前的漢城 [literally: Shouer, formerly Hancheng] in television and radio).[14]

The change was intended for Chinese speakers only, and has no effect on the Korean language name. The new name would be written and pronounced 수이; Sui in Korean.[12] Some linguists criticize the selection of the new name, claim that its pronunciation in Korean bears no resemblance to the native name at all, and state that its intended representation of the Korean pronunciation is effective in Mandarin but is lost in other regional dialects, such as in Cantonese, in which the name is pronounced "sau2 yi5", or in Shanghainese, in which the new name (首爾) is pronounced "sew2 el3." Those critics have said that the names "西蔚" or "徐蔚" (the latter being the ancient name of Seoul) would have been much more effective in representing the city's Korean name.[citation needed]

Other edit

On a 1751 map of China and Korea prepared in France, Seoul was marked as "King-Ki-Tao, Capitale de la Corée", using an approximation of the Chinese pronunciation of Gyeonggi Province (京畿道). The use of "King-Ki-Tao" to refer to Seoul was repeated again on the 1851 Tallis/Rapkin map of both Japan and Korea.[15]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Hendick Hamel (1668), 蘭船濟州道難破記.
  2. ^ "Was Seoul Always Called Seoul?". The Seoul Searcher. Wordpress. 28 July 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-08-07. Retrieved 23 August 2010.
  3. ^ "서울". Encyclopedia of Korean Culture (in Korean). Retrieved 2023-09-13.
  4. ^ "Kyŏngju | Historic City, UNESCO Site | Britannica". Retrieved 2023-09-13.
  5. ^ Katsuhiro Kuroda (2004-07-02). 漢城、京城、セソウル?. Sankei Shimbun. Retrieved 2020-12-19.
  6. ^ "ソウル". 日本大百科全書. Shogakukan.
  7. ^ 경부철도 (PDF). Hwangsŏng Shinmun. 1905-04-11. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-08-27. Retrieved 2020-12-19.
  8. ^ 역명개칭고시. Dong-a Ilbo. 1922-12-29.
  9. ^ "Introduction of Seoul Station on KTX Cyber Station". Archived from the original on 2008-10-20.
  10. ^ a b 김, 재은 (2004-03-05). "서울대? 한성(漢城)대? 서울고? 한성(漢城)고?". The Chosun Ilbo (in Korean). Retrieved 2023-09-13.
  11. ^ 임대근; 高瑜 (2014-07-01). 드라마 중국어회화 핵심패턴 233 (in Korean). 길벗이지톡. p. 67. ISBN 978-89-6047-873-2.
  12. ^ a b c 김, 세중 (2005). "정책과 제도". National Institute of Korean Language. Retrieved 2023-09-13.
  13. ^ 壹蘋果旅遊網-南韓-首爾﹝漢城﹞ [NextMedia Travel: Seoul, South Korea)] (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2010.
  14. ^ "當年今日之1950年9月29日美軍從北韓手中奪回漢城 (今首爾)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-05.
  15. ^ "JAPAN & COREA': Yedo (Tokyo) King-ki-Tao (Seoul). Korea.TALLIS/RAPKIN 1851 map".

External links edit