서울

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Jeju[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Cognate with Korean 서울 (seoul), from Sillan 徐羅伐 (서라벌 (Seorabeol)).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

서울 (seoul)

  1. capital

Proper noun[edit]

서울 (seoul)

  1. Seoul (the capital city of South Korea)

References[edit]

  • 서울” in Jeju's culture and language, Digital museum.

Korean[edit]

Etymology[edit]

First attested in the generic "capital" sense in the Samguk yusa (三國遺事 / 삼국유사), 1281:

國號徐羅伐徐伐徐伐以此 [Korean Literary Sinitic, trad.]
국호서라벌서벌 금속훈경자운서벌 이차고야 [Sino-Korean]
The name of the [capital of the] kingdom [of Silla, the ancient kingdom which unified the Korean peninsula in the late 600s] was Syelapel or Syepel. This is why, [even] today, the Korean word for the character (capital city) is syepel.

The modern sense of "Seoul" is simply because Seoul was the capital of Korea from 1394 onwards.

In the Hangul script, first attested in the Yongbi eocheonga (龍飛御天歌 / 용비어천가), 1447, as Middle Korean 셔〯ᄫᅳᆯ (Yale: syěWùl).

Also attested in the Bullyu dugongbu si eonhae (分類杜工部詩諺解 / 분류두공부시언해), 1481, as Middle Korean 셔〯욿 (Yale: syěwùlh).

Etymological details

As mentioned in the Samguk yusa, the sense of "capital" is most likely a generalization of the Old Korean place name referring specifically to the capital of Silla, the ancient state which unified Korea. This place name was transcribed using various Chinese characters, most often 徐羅伐 (Middle Korean Syelapel, modern Seorabeol). This appears to be a compound of:

  • the Old Korean proper noun corresponding to Silla, approximated as Syela-. Note that Middle Korean rising pitch, as in syě, is created by a contraction of two syllables, which fits this theory.
  • an Old Korean word meaning "town", approximated as -pel, which can be seen in many other ancient toponyms. Note that Middle Korean -W- comes from former *-p-. Also compare Middle Korean *고ᄫᆞᆶ (Yale: *kwòWòlh, “town, district”) and 스〮ᄀᆞᄫᆞᆯ (Yale: súkòWòl, “rural town”), where this word has survived in fossilized form.

Hence the word may originally have meant "the town of the Silla".

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (SK Standard/Seoul) IPA(key): [sʰʌ̹uɭ]
    • (file)
  • Phonetic hangul: []
Romanizations
Revised Romanization?Seoul
Revised Romanization (translit.)?Seoul
McCune–Reischauer?Sŏul
Yale Romanization?sewul

Noun[edit]

서울 (seoul)

  1. (dated) capital; large city
    파리 프랑스 서울이다.
    Pari-neun Peurangseu-ui seour-ida.
    Paris is the capital of France.
    우리나라 서울 서울이다.
    Urinara-ui seour-eun Seour-ida.
    The capital of our country (i.e. Korea) is Seoul.
    Synonym: 수도(首都) (sudo)

See also[edit]

Proper noun[edit]

Wikipedia-logo.png
 서울특별시 on Korean Wikipedia

서울 (Seoul)

  1. Seoul (the capital city of South Korea)
    서울 가요.
    Seour-e gayo.
    (I am, you are, he is, etc.) going to Seoul. / Let's go to Seoul
    (file)

Usage notes[edit]

  • Unlike the majority of Korean place names, 서울 (seoul) doesn't have a hanja form and is only written in hangeul.

Descendants[edit]

  • Chinese: 首爾首尔 (Shǒu'ěr)
  • English: Seoul (possibly through a French-based romanization)
  • French: Séoul
    • English: Seoul (possible)
  • Japanese: ソウル
  • Norwegian Bokmål: Seoul
  • Spanish: Seúl

See also[edit]