처음 초(初)/끝 말(末) – Korean Hanja #15

3 Speed Only

With Explanation

Everything will be ended if it is started. The characters 처음 초(初) and 끝 말(末) are the characters for these concepts. We will learn how they are used today.

초기(初期)/말기(末期)

The word, 초기 and 말기 means the period of beginning and ending as 기 means period of time. It is used a lot with cancer, 암, in Korean.

암의 초기 증상을 제대로 알면 제 때 치료를 받을 수 있습니다.
If you know the initial symptoms of cancer, you can get the treatment on time.

간암이 말기시라 어떻게 해 볼 방법이 없군요.
His liver cancer is in the last stage, we don't have anything to do with it.

연초(年初)/연말(年末), 월초(月初)/월말(月末)

The beginning of a year is 연초 in Korean, and the end is 연말. 연 here is 해 년(年). It is used when you talk about the years like 1988년, 2002년, 2015년, etc. Although it is basically 년, but it is read as 연 because of the 두음법칙. 두음법칙 or initial sound law is applied to ㄴ, ㄹ when they are used in the first sound of words. They are changed to ㅇ, ㄴ.

연초에 세운 계획이 제대로 지켜지고 있는지 확인해 볼 시점이다.
Now is the time to check whether the plans are kept correctly which we made in the beginning of this year.

연말이 다가올수록 더욱 열심히 일해야 한다.
As the end of the year coming along, we should work even harder.

Although there is no example here, 월초 and 월말 have the same 초 and 말. 월 here means month.

초반(初盤)/후반(後半)

Like 고 and 저, antonym of 초 is not always 말. It is sometimes 뒤 후(後) we learned with 앞 전(前). The example is the 초반 and 후반. It is really interesting that the characters used for 반 are different. In 초반, 반 means plate or table. 초반 got this meaning because of 장기 or 바둑, Go, traditional board games in Korea. As you play 바둑 on tables, the beginning of the table means the early stage of the game.

반 in 후반 means half. It is the same 후반 in 후반전, second half. There is a word like 종반 whose 반 is the same 반 in 초반 and which means similar with 후반. It is not that frequently used like 후반.

6.25 전쟁 초반에는 남한이 무척 열세였다.
In the early stage of Korean War, South Korea was inferior.

경기 후반에서야 점수가 나기 시작했다.
At the near end of the game, the team were getting scores.

Other words

초 and 말 are used in baseball. First top, first bottom in English are 1회 초 and 1회 말.
초대(初代) is used for the first president for 초대 대통령, 초대 회장. 대 here means generation.