Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

Hanja in Korean addresses, or, fun with postal addressing

I’m about to send a Postcrossing postcard to Korea.

I usually try to address postcards in the native script if I can write it (e.g. Cyrillic for Russia or kanji+kana for Japan), under the impression that this might speed up delivery slightly.

Supposing this is true, I wonder now what effect writing the name and address in hanja would have—I can imagine that it would be slower than hangeul (since postal workers might not be as familiar with hanja), but I wonder whether it would still be faster than writing the address in Latin, or whether it would be slower still (for example, because they’re even less familiar with hanja than with Latin letters).

I suppose the most reasonable way would be to write the address in hangeul, but the most fun way for me would be hanja. I guess I’m weird that way.

I’d also consider it fun to write a Vietnamese address in chữ Hán (though the opportunity has not presented itself so far), and have actually translated a Finnish address into Swedish in the past, with the aid of Google Maps, which shows street names in both languages in multilingual areas.

I also routinely determine the ZIP+4 codes for US addresses and add the +4 bit. (I don’t always canonicalise the address to the USPS form, e.g. all-caps and with specific abbreviations such as PL for Place, but I have been known to do so as well.)

I suppose some of my habits are benign (e.g. the ZIP+4 thing), but writing a Finnish address in Swedish has probably crossed the border to “perverse for the sake of it”.

I wonder whether street names in Quebec and Manitoba are bilingual, and if so, what would happen if I used the English form for a Quebec address and the French form for a Manitoba one.

Or, even more interestingly, the French form for a NWT or Nunavut one, since French is co-official in those territories, too.

Or, heck, writing a Nunavut address in Syllabics would be fun, but they seem to use PO Boxes rather than street delivery, at least in Iqaluit, so that’s half the fun gone already.

Ah well. Guess I’ll write the address in Hangeul, then. (Though I’m happy the person gave me the spelling of their name in hanja when they corrected my guess at the hanja spelling of their address. I even guessed two out of three characters in their name correctly, though getting one of those right—for their family name, Park—was pretty much fish in a barrel.)

Tags: postcrossing, writing systems
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