SOAS University of London

Japan & Korea Section, Department of East Asian Languages & Culture

Introduction to Hanja

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 1 or Year 2
Taught in:
Term 2

This module will introduce students to the history of Chinese characters and their use in Korea as hanja. Students will learn how characters are formed and how to use hanja dictionaries. From week two, each lecture will introduce a set of hanja characters related to a certain topic and students will be required to achieve both passive and active knowledge of these characters. The material for each week will consist of exercises prepared by the convenor and a text that exemplifies the use of the characters in question.



Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  1. Analyze the composition of a character and find it in a dictionary
  2. Apply the correct strokes and stroke order when writing characters
  3. Read and write the basic characters related to the topics introduced in the module
  4. Read elementary/intermediate level mixed script Korean texts with the help of a dictionary


Total of 10 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week consisting of a 2 hour lecture.

Scope and syllabus

  1. History of Chinese characters and their use in Korea.
  2. Strokes and stroke order. Numbers.
  3. How to use hanja dictionaries. Time and space.
  4. The body. 
  5. Education and school.
  6. History.
  7. The senses. 
  8. Society. 
  9. Language. 
  10. Politics.


Method of assessment

One two-hour written examination in May/June (70%); an oral examination - 10 minutes (20%); continuous assessment (10%).

Suggested reading

Convenor will provide list of characters, exercises and relevant texts for each week.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules