Sunday, February 19, 2017

What does "손돌바람" mean?

Originally, "Sondol's Wind" (손돌바람) referred to a cold, hard wind that begins blowing about the 20th day of the 10th month of the lunar calendar. Though the 9th, 10th, and 11th months of the solar calendar would be considered the months of autumn, the 10th month of the lunar calendar is considered the first month of winter, so it would not be unusual for a cold, hard wind to blow during the first month of winter. The question some people may ask, however, is why would it begin blowing on the 20th day of the first month of winter?

According to one story, during the time of Korea's Goryeo Dynasty (918 - 1392 A.D.), a sailor named "Sondol" (손돌 - 孫乭) was rowing a boat carrying the king when somewhere between "Tongjin (통진 - 通津) and Ganghwa (강화 - 江華) heavy wind and waves began to put the boat in danger. The king, for some reason, blamed Sondol (손돌) for the danger they were in and had him killed. The blame and punishment was considered unfair, so, afterwards, when there was a cold, hard wind blowing at about the same time each year, people began calling it "Sondol's wind," which translates in Korean as either 손돌바람 or 손돌풍 (孫乭風). Sondol (손돌) was apparently killed sometime around the 20th day of the 10th month of the lunar calendar. Now, however, 손돌바람 can be used to refer to any "cold, hard wind" anytime of the year. There is also the expression 손돌이추위, which translates as "Sondol's (손돌이) cold (추위)."

Even without knowing that Sondol (손돌 - 孫乭) was a simple oarsman on a boat, one could have guessed his low social status by his name because the word "돌" was commonly used in the names of male servants. The female equivalent would be "순." For example, some people may have heard stories, songs, or jokes using the names 갑돌이 and 갑순이, names that people seem to associate with simple people from the countryside.

What does the word 돌 (乭) mean? Besides being used for the name of a person, it is also the sound for the pure Korean word for "rock." The Korean alphabet was not invented until the Joseon Dynasty, so since the story of "Sondol" (손돌) happened during the Koryeo Dynasty, the dynasty before Joseon, Sondol's name would have had to be written in Chinese characters. The Chinese character for "rock" is 石 (석), so sometimes "Sondol's wind" has been written as 손석풍 (孫石風) instead of 손돌풍 (孫乭風). The problem with the word 손석풍 is that the sailor's name was 손돌, not 손석. To solve this problem, Koreans invented a new Chinese character, one to represent the Korean sound /돌/.

Notice the Chinese character 乭 (돌) is made up of the Chinese character for "rock" (石) and 乙 (을). The Chinese character 乙 (을) was often used to represent the Korean letter "ㄹ" before "Hangeul"  was invented. The combination of 石 and 乙 was a way of saying that 乭 should be pronounced using the pronunciation for the pure Korean word for "rock" (도+ㄹ= 돌). In other words, 乭 (돌) was created to represent the sound /돌/, not the meaning "rock." Why would Koreans create a new character for "rock" when there was already one?

Here are other examples of characters Koreans have created to represent the sounds of Korean syllables ending in "ㄹ":
  • 㐓 (갈) -- 可(가) + 乙(을) = the sound /갈/
  • 乫 (갈) -- 加(가) + 乙(을) = the sound /갈/
  • 乬 (걸) -- 巨(거) + 乙(을) = the sound /걸/
  • 㐦 (걸) -- 擧(거) + 乙(을) = the sound /걸/
  • 㐣 (골) -- 庫(고) + 乙(을) = the sound /골/
  • 㐇 (굴) -- 九(구) + 乙(을) = the sound /굴/
  • 㐝 (굴) -- 拘(구) + 乙(을) = the sound /굴/
  • 㐎 (글) -- 文(문) + 乙(을) = the sound /글/; 文(문) = "writing" or "글" in pure Korean
  • 㐞 (길) -- 其(기) + 乙(을) = the sound /길/
  • 㐟 (길) -- 非(비) + 乙(을) = the sound /길/; seems it should be "빌," not "길"
  • 㐐 (놀) -- 奴(노) + 乙(을) = the sound /놀/
  • 㐗 (놀) -- 老(노) + 乙(을) = the sound /놀/
  • 㐑 (돌) -- 冬(동) + 乙(을) = the sound /돌/; exchange the "ㅇ" for "ㄹ"
  • 乧 (둘) -- 斗(두) + 乙(을) = the sound /둘/
  • 㐙 (둘) -- 豆(두) + 乙(을) = the sound /둘/
  • 㐢 (뜰) -- 浮(부) + 乙(을) = the sound /뜰/; 浮(부) = "to float" or "뜨다" in pure Korean
  • 朰 (몰) -- 木(목) + 乙(을) = the sound /몰/
  • 乶 (볼) -- 甫(보) + 乙(을) = the sound /볼/
  • 㐊 (사) -- 士(사) + 乙(을) = the sound /살/
  • 乷 (살) -- 沙(사) + 乙(을) = the sound /살/
  • 㐥 (설) -- 鋤(서) + 乙(을) = the sound /설/
  • 㐒 (솔) -- 召(소) + 乙(을) = the sound /솔/
  • 乺 (솔) -- 所(소) + 乙(을) = the sound /솔/
  • 㐘 (쌀) -- 米(미) + 乙(을) = the sound /쌀/; 米(미) = "rice" or "쌀" in pure Korean
  • 乻 (얼) -- 於(어) + 乙(을) = the sound /얼/
  • 㐏 (올) -- 五(오) + 乙(을) = the sound /올/
  • 㐚 (올) -- 吾(오) + 乙(을) = the sound /올/
  • 乯 (올) -- 乎(호) + 乙(을) = the sound /올/; seems it should be "홀," not "올"
  • 㐛 (울) -- 佑(우) + 乙(을) = the sound /울/
  • 㐕 (율) -- 由(유) + 乙(을) = the sound /율/
  • 㐠 (율) -- 乳(유) + 乙(을) = the sound /율/
  • 乽 (잘) -- 者(자) + 乙(을) = the sound /잘/
  • 㐉 (절) -- 丁(정) + 乙(을) = the sound /절/ ; exchange the "ㅇ" for "ㄹ"
  • 乼 (줄) -- 注(주) + 乙(을) = the sound /줄/
  • 乲 (찰) -- 次(차) + 乙(을) = the sound /찰/
  • 㐋 (톨) -- 土(토) + 乙(을) = the sound /톨/
  • 乤 (할) -- 下(하) + 乙(을) = the sound /할/
  • 乥 (홀) -- 乊(호) + 乙(을) = the sound /홀/

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