Journal of
Languages and Culture

  • Abbreviation: J. Lang. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6540
  • DOI: 10.5897/JLC
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 132


“I will pray for you that you may become a man well developed and a woman in full bloom beautifully!”; from the translation of Tcheonzamun (the book of ‘The Thousand Character Essay’) poem (705-720th characters)

Hyeonhi Regina Park
  • Hyeonhi Regina Park
  • Department of Elderly care and welfare, Joongbu University, Kumsan, South Korea.
  • Google Scholar
Jieun Agatha Kim
  • Jieun Agatha Kim
  • Department of Economics, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea.
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Kunjoo Daegon Andrea Kim
  • Kunjoo Daegon Andrea Kim
  • Farm Hannong, LG Chemicals, Seoul, South Korea.
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Jiah Anna Kim
  • Jiah Anna Kim
  • Départment d'Expertise Economique, Université de Paris-Est Creteil, Paris, France.
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Sohwa Therese Kim
  • Sohwa Therese Kim
  • Department of French Language and Literature, Seoul Women's University, Seoul, South Korea.
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Rosa Kim
  • Rosa Kim
  • L'Ambassade de la République de Corée en Cote d'Ivoire, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire.
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Alain Hamon
  • Alain Hamon
  • L'Ecole Internationale Jean-Mermoz, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire.
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Sangdeog Augustin Kim
  • Sangdeog Augustin Kim
  • Department of Companion Animal and Animal Resources Science, Joongbu University, Kumsan, South Korea.
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  •  Received: 20 October 2016
  •  Accepted: 14 April 2017
  •  Published: 31 July 2017


This study aims to study the meaning of Tcheonzamun (the book of ‘The Thousand Character Essay’) poem of 16 letters from 705 to 720th characters. The Chinese translation of this poem shows how to grow a child well. But the Korean version says, “Think positive!”, “Look on the bright side!”, “I am very proud of you!”; these might be the most principal maxims of their descendents of the Tcheonzamun author, the Korean ancestor. There is a common subject between the two methods for interpreting or translating the poem. The attitude of parents in Korean pronunciation is very soft and very positive, while Chinese translation is very strict to child. The strict attitude to children has been favorable until now for most of Korean families. And it is considered that soft attitude as shown in Korean pronunciation is favorable for future Korean families.

Key words: Poem of 705 to 720th characters, soft attitude, Tcheonzamun (The Thousand Character Essay), future Korean families, Korean pronunciation interpretation.


The life style of Maeg country seemed to be ideal for the Chinese people (Kangxizidian, 1716). The Chinese and Korean children used to learn Chinese characters with the book of Tcheonzamun (the book of ‘The Thousand Character Essay’) (Dallet, 1874). Though two countries use Chinese characters in common, China and Korea have different languages (Dallet, 1874), and the languages have different grammatical systems.
Chinese language system is composed of subject + verb + object pattern, while Korean language is composed of subject + object + verb. Augustin, the corresponding author, found that each poem is composed of 16 Chinese characters (4 lines × 4 letters/line), then, we started to translate the Tcheonzamun (Park and Kim, 2012a) and we tried to do it through the Chinese grammatical method. We found that there are two sentences in each 4 letters as verb + object, verb + object or subject + verb, subject + verb (Park and Kim, 2012b; Park and Kim, 2012c; Park and Kim, 2013; Kim and Park, 2015).
We found that most of the sentences in the Tcheonzamun were composed of verb 1 + object 1, verb 2 + object 2. And in this case we translate through this pattern: In order to do (verb 1) object 1, we do(verb 2) object 2; in other words, the first part is more important than the second part (Kim and Park, 2014; Kim and Park, 2015a,b; Kim and Park, 2016). This language system is not the Chinese system but the Korean system. In Chinese language system the last phrase or sentence is usually more important than the first one, but we found during the translation that the first part of two letters is more important than the last one of two letters in Tcheonzamun. Therefore, we felt that the grammar of Tcheonzamun is somewhat different from that of Chinese language and similar to that of Korean language.
However, recently we found during the Tcheonzamun translation that a Chinese word(é³¥) was utilized in a rude manner (Park and Kim, 2015). Korea is situated in the North-east direction of China. The usual pronunciation and common meaning of the Chinese character(é³¥) in China are ‘Niao’ and ‘bird’, respectively. By the way it was written in a Chinese dictionary (He, 1988) that a pronunciation for the same Chinese character(é³¥) was utilized as ‘Diao’ in Northern-east directed region of China (not northern east China) with the meaning of reproductive organ of man. And the meaning and the pronunciation of the word Diao are nearly the same with the modern Korean word Zot in meaning. The word in modern Korean language means the reproductive organ of man, and it expresses a strong contempt or very disgusting condition. With the help of the Chinese dictionary (He, 1988) we were able to translate the poem successfully with Korean pronunciation of the word (é³¥) (Park and Kim, 2015; Park and Kim, 2016a). And then we started to consider that Tcheonzamun was written by Korean ancestor, Maeg people (Park and Kim, 2016b; Kim and Park, 2016a).
At present, we knew that interpretation of the poem of 16 letters is possible through modern Korean language pronunciations   (Park   and   Kim,   2016;  Kim  and  Park, 2016b). This fact means that the Tcheonzamun was certainly written by Korean ancestor, Maeg people.
In this report, we are going to translate Tcheonzamun from 705 to 720th characters through Chinese character and also through Korean pronunciation.


We used a Han Seog Bong Tcheonzamun (Kim, 2002). Han Seog Bong is the name of a famous calligrapher in the 16th or 17th century A.D. in Choseon country; he wrote the Tcheonzamun in his own calligraphy. Kangxizidian (1716) was used. This time, the Tcheonzamun poem is consisted of 16 letters from 705 to 720th characters, (- / V `) shows the tone of Chinese characters.


At first, this poem is interpreted through Korean pronunciation.
705-708 성궁기계(SeongGungKiGye) 省躬譏誡 성글성글하게(SeongGulSeongGulHaGe) Here, SeongGul repeats. This phrase means in modern Korean language ‘I wish that you smile gently. Please do this!’.
709-712 총증항극(TchongZeungHangGeug) 寵增抗極 총총하게(TchongTchongHaGe) This phrase means in modern Korean ‘I hope that you shine brightly like stars at night. Do this please!”.
713-716 태욕근치(TaeYogKeunTchi) 殆辱近恥 티격태격 그쳐(TiGyeogTaeGyeog KeuTchyeo). Here, TiGyeog and TaeGyeog have similar meaning. This sentence means in modern Korean “I want you to stop disputing. Do not quarrel please!”.
717-720 임고행즉(ImGoHaengZeug) 林睾幸卽 이쁘고 활짝(IbbuGo HwalZag) This sentence means in modern Korean “I will pray for you that you may become a man well developed and a woman in full bloom beautifully. I hope that you will become a man and a woman like this”.
It is considered that the result was sudden. He wrote that it was very important to have good relations among them, the Maeg people. Did the author of Tcheonzamun think that good relationship among the Maeg people was the best weapon for the battle? Or was keeping peace among the ancestor of Korean people the most important thing for their life? Until now it is not shown, and we are going to translate the Tcheonzamun, and his or their intention will be revealed. We knew from this Tcheonzamun poem that “Think positive!”, “Look on the bright side!”, “I am very proud of you!” might be the principal content to their descendents by this Tcheonzamun author, the Korean ancestor.
This time we are going to translate this poem in Chinese character. 705-708  성궁기계(SeongGungKiGye) 省(V)躬(-)譏(-)誡(`) If I want to scold or repent (省) myself (躬), I must not say(譏) any angry word to others (誡).
709-712 총증항극(TchongZeungHangGeug) 寵(V)增(-)抗(`)極(/) No! It is not concerning other persons but about our child (children)! Here, it is about us, the parent’s attitude to our child (children).
If we let our child (極) do his own will (抗), we keep loving our child (寵) even though when the child do so continuously (增).
713-716 태욕근치(TaeYogKeunTchi) 殆(`)辱(`)近(`)恥(V) If we want to let (殆) our child to be insulted by other people (辱), it will soon occur so (近) unless we interrupt our child from stupid things (恥).
717-720 임고행즉(ImGoHaengZeug) 林(/)睾(-)幸(`)卽(/) If we are going to grow up our child (睾) in great prosperity (林), we must scold our child directly (幸) and we have to say to our child “You are not right!” at present time (卽).
The next is the word of Father JungChan John KIM during the Mass in Daejeon Nae-dong Catholic Church on 13 July 2016. The theme of his message was on Tcheolbuzi (This Korean word means a child who is not grown sufficiently, or a man or a woman who is not sophisticated).
“This sentence ‘The Lord will show himself to Tcheolbuzi’ means that he will appear in front of the weak man or woman and he likes the feeble. If a man or a woman is going to search his or her Lord, God will show himself to the person. It is very fortunate if somebody wants a comfortable nest in God. If we want an aid from the God and then we thank Him, we are Tcheolbuzi in front of our Lord. Being Tcheolbuzi before our Lord God is not a shame but the beginning of modesty.”
The next thing is said by Mrs InSook Veronica RYU on 14 July 2016 when it was the birthday of Father Jean BLANC. Mrs Ryu is responsible for the group of Yohan Moyim (in French 'le groupe de Jean Blanc'; in English the group of Father Jean Blanc who is a French missionary and has been sent to Republic of Korea in 1954 by 'Missions Etrangeres de Paris'.). Augustin and Hyeonhi have taken a meal on the pleasant meeting with Father Jean Blanc. “There is an environment of pressing others –it means that we must do something without our free will- in Korea our country!”
Augustin, one of the authors of the present report, has grown up in similar environment where Tcheonzamun poem was written. His home environment is that “We parents do scold our children in order to bring them  well!” While the environment of his wife Hyeonhi was opposite to   that   of  Augustin’s  home; “We  parents  do  love  our  children!”
 Augustin wants to say to the author of this poem, “I respect my Teacher; till now I have not resisted your thoughts. Because your advice for my life has been really splendid! Though I respect my teacher, I am sorry but this time I will not follow your advice! Parents have brought up their children strictly in Korea. It has been more than 2500 years from your period of Maeg country to this modern Korea. I think that the method of speaking good of our own children is more favorable and better instead of scolding them.”
The general concept that the paper tries to bring out is as follows, between the two translating methods there are both difference and similarity. Here, one translating method is by the meaning of Chinese characters, the other is through Korean pronunciation. This poem has shown the teaching attitude of parents to their children (child). The attitude in the Chinese version is to treat children strictly, while that of the Korean version is warm. Both attitudes belong to Maeg life style. And we, the researchers, think that even though the outer appearance of the Maeg parents seemed to be hard to their children (as shown in the Chinese character method), their inner and real mind was very warm and kind to their children (in Korean pronunciation method). One of our good and well respected friends told the researchers that:
“Tcheonzamun has structures similar to Korean sentence patterns. That is, S(subject) + O(object) + V(verb). This pattern can be found in classical languages like Tamil, the most ancient language of India.”
“The author of Tcheonzamun might have been the brilliant philosopher of the Maeg country” “The Korean translation enunciates that parents should love their children. The Chinese translation wants the parents to be strict towards their children. The Tcheonzamun’s maxims/preaching to the people of Maeg country are also gentle, positive and encouraging.”
“The atmosphere through Korean pronunciation is significantly soft to the child while the translation through Chinese character is more strict. The structure, Infinitive + Object  is said to be prominent in Tcheonzamun.”
As one of our friends write to the researchers, “The authors have made their best attempts to prove that Tcheonzamun was written by the citizens of the ancient Maeg country, the present Korea.”Hyeonhi informed Augustin the other day (21 October 2016) about Pope Francesco’s word; “The faith is joyfulness!” We, two persons, thank our God Amen!


From the translation of  Tcheonzamun  (the  book  of ‘The Thousand Character Essay’) poem (705 to 720th characters) using the Korean pronunciation for the interpretation, we know that “Think positive!”, “Look on the bright side!”, “I am very proud  of  you!”  might  be  the principal content bequeathed to their descendents by this Tcheonzamun author, the Korean ancestor. We think that there is common subject in the two methods; parent’s attitude to the eirchild. One method is through Korean pronunciation interpretation and, the other is through the Chinese character translation. The atmosphere through Korean pronunciation is significantly soft to the child while the translation through Chinese character is more strict.


The authors have not declared any conflict of interests.


Dallet CH (1874). Histoire de l'Eglise de Corée(History of Korean Catholic Church). Victor Palme. Paris. France. pp.11-99.


He R (1988). Guoyuribaozidian(edited by Guoyuribaoshe). Taibei. p. 161-797.


Kangxizidian (1716). Edited by Zhonghua Book Company in 2013. Beijing. p. 1201.


Kim JJ (2002). HanSeogBong Tcheonzamun. Eunkwang Publishing company. Seoul. pp. 1-52.


Kim SA, Park HR (2014). Baek Yohan Sinbunimeui Kanglon Malsseum-Saje Seopum Heuinyeon(Kibbeumeui Hae) (Jubilé sacerdotal) [(The message by Father Jean Blanc in the Mass – The joyful memorial 20th, 40th and 60th year after their Sacerdotal ceremonies (Jubilé sacerdotal).]. 


Kim SA, Park HR (2015a). Ddeunaiyong Seonsaengnim Bubueui Pyeonzi ("Keomsa Kyeolkwa Da Zosseumnida! Yuk Kaewol Hue Dasi Bobsida!") [La lettre de Madame et Monsieur Tenaillon ("Le résultat de la cheque de votre santé à 6 mois, c'est bien, tout le monde va bien. On va voir après six mois!".)].


Kim SA, Park HR (2015b). Kyeong Kaplyong Yosep Zukyonim Komapseupnida! (Keuraedo Kyesok Hamyeon, Kyeolkug Ileoseol Su Isseoyo) [Dear Bishop Kaplyong Joseph Kyeong, thank you very much! (You will get up at last, if you continue to do practice in order to recover from your sickness.)]. 


Kim SA, Park HR (2016a). Uri IlSoo Josheph Abuzi Saenggag 18(Uri Minzogeui Gussen Iyagi - Tcheonzamun [Remember of my father Ilsoo Joseph 18 (Tcheonzamun is a story of our tolerant ancestors)].


Kim SA, Park HR (2016b). Sunyeonim: Augustin, Zuil Misareul Kwolhazi Andorok Haezugesseo?" (Sister: "Augustin, can you attend Mass on every Sunday?"). 


Park HR, Kim SA (2012a). Atchim Ilzigbuteo Ileona Anzayaziyo (You must get up early). 


Park HR, Kim SA (2012b). Yeolsimhi Ddwigo Nolaya!(You must play well on jumping!). 


Park HR, Kim SA (2012c). (Uri Hyeonhieui) Yeobo Yatchaesu deusaeyo, Saranghapnida![(My Darling Hyeonhi said to me that) Hello, drink the extracted vegetable water, I love you!]. 


Park HR, Kim SA (2013). (Uri Bohwa Eomni Malsseumeseo) Oneul Boni Zeongmaliguna! [(My mother Bohwa said that) I know today that the saying is true!]. 


Park HR, Kim SA (2015). Zarangseureon Hankugeui Ddal Annaya! (Namdeulege Yogeul Bagaziro Eoteomeogeul Zeongdoro Motdoin Sarami Itgeona Ddoneun Azu Himdeun Zottchi Aneun Ili Ileonal Ddaee) [Our daughter Anna, our pride! (When there is near to you a very bad man who used to get lots of critics from other persons, or when there occurs a very bad thing to you.)]. 


Park HR, Kim SA (2016a). Uriga Ilbon Yeohaengeul Danyeoon Nal Zeonyeog Rosaga Bonaezun Keul ("Zunim Tcheonzamune Urinara Iyagiga Nawayo! - Tcheonzamun Zeozaeui Aezeolhan Zeolgyuyo!") [An E-mail letter from Rosa on the night when we returned from Japan journey (The sorrowful voices of Tcheonzamun's author in a Tcheonzamun poem and the petition of ancient Koreans to God)]. 


Park HR, Kim SA (2016b). Wolsageum 1000 won ("Haneunimggeseo Urireul Yeopeseo Barabogo Kyesinda!") [Encouragement of 1 dollar for the foreign language study ("God sees us beside us!")].