Alex 알렉스
Professional Teacher
The suffix -san in Korean The suffix -san in Korean means 'mountain'. So far so good. When traveling in the north of Chollabukdo and the adjoining south of Chungcheonnamdo, an area which is very flat, I noticed that many place names are ending with -san. Iksan, Gunsan, Geumsan, Nonsan and many more. Any idea why?
Mar 25, 2019 10:49 PM
Comments · 4
Case 1 : Renaming by a royal mandate
* Taejong of Joseon(조선 태종) said that there are too many place names which ends with Ju(주). So some place names are changed from 주(Ju) to 산(San) or 천(Cheon).

익주(益州) -> 익산(益山)
금주(錦州) -> 금산(錦山)
울주(蔚州) -> 울산(蔚山)

Case 2 : contraction
고군산군도(古群山群島) -> 군산(群山)

Case 3 : literal translation of pure Korean place name.
'논뫼' or '놀뫼'(rice paddy and mountain - Gyeryongsan Mountain ) -> 논산(論山) 

March 26, 2019

Yes, right. 천(川) means 'stream'.

Example of renaming by a royal mandate
인주(仁州) -> 인천(仁川)
포주(抱州) -> 포천(抱川)

March 26, 2019
Thanks a lot for your effort.
March 26, 2019
Wow, thanks for this detailed answer. And 천 means in place names 'stream' and/or district, right?
March 26, 2019