Korean Honorifics – Oppa, neem, Seonsaeng and others

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In this article we will see the main Korean honorary titles. You will see the meanings of neem; ssi; nuna; unni; hyung; oppa; ajumma; ajusshi; sunbae; hubae; seonsaeng; gun; yang; gaju and naeuri.

Korea, like Japan, also uses treatment suffixes. It is very important to follow these rules of using honorary names, after all, nobody wants to make a mistake on their way to some country.

What are Korean honorary titles?

The honorary title is generally used to refer to the person you are talking to, or when referring to a third party. It is never used to refer to itself, except for dramatic effect, or in some exceptional cases.

The honorary titles are equivalent to Lord, Madam, Young, Master, Highness and similar words. The difference is that in Asian culture these honorary titles are common and it is part of the daily life of the population to use them.

It is impossible not to come across the use of these titles in manhwa, novels, Korean literature and even in K-POP. The practice of a country must not be left to be used by a foreigner, that is the rule, it is etiquette.

As in Japan, there are titles that fall out of favor because they are few used or because they have outdated meanings. But it is important to know even these, in case an extremely formal situation occurs.

Korean Honorary Titles, oppa

Main Korean Honorary Titles

Nim: It is a formal way to address an older person or one who is more respectful than you. Just being a suffix.

Ssi: Used formally to address strangers or strangers. Just being a suffix.

Nuna: It is a friendly, more intimate way, used only for women who are older than the man she is talking to. It can be used as a suffix or also as a Vocative when addressing women.

Unni: Unlike Nuna, Unni is used in the same friendly and more intimate way, only it is used for a woman to refer to another, if she is older. It can be used as a suffix, but you can directly call someone with it.

Hyung: This is for men. A friendly way to address another man, as long as he is older. It can be used as a suffix, but you can directly call someone with it.

Korean Honorary Titles, oppa

What does Oppa, ajumma and ajusshi mean?

Oppa: It is a friendly way to address a man who is older than you, use it if you are a woman. Even though it is not synonymous, it can be used to address your boyfriends. Likewise, it can be used as a suffix, and also to be used directly.

Ajumma: It is used to refer to middle-aged women, between 35 and 55. Be careful when calling someone under 35 as Ajumma, it can be offensive and rude on your part. It is more common to use it alone, but it can be used as a suffix as
well.– Ajusshi: Used to refer to men of the same age group as Ajumma. Younger people in their 30s prefer to be called hyung / oppa by younger people. It can be used as a suffix or to refer directly.

Korean Honorary Titles, oppa

What does Sunbae, Hubae and SEONSAENG mean?

Sunbae: It is used as in the case of “Senpais”, used for older colleagues or people you see as a helper, counselor or mentor. It can be used as a suffix or also used to refer directly.

Hubae: This is the opposite, it is used for the youngest, as in Kouhai in Japanese. Almost always used in third person and little used directly in another.

Seonsaeng: He is usually translated as a teacher, however, he has much more formality, being used as a way of respecting the person he addresses. It is customary to add ‘-nim’ to call the person. It is common to see children and teenagers adding ‘-without’ to, in a way, pronounce ‘seonsaeng-nim’ more quickly.

Korean Honorary Titles, oppa

What does Gun, Yang, Gaju and Naeuri mean?

Gun: Used sparingly for occasions of extreme formality, such as weddings, it is usually used after the first name or the full name. Being used exclusively and exclusively for men, mostly the host.

Yang: Used sparingly for occasions of extreme formality, such as weddings, it is usually used after the first name or the full name. Being used exclusively and exclusively for women, mostly the hostess.

NOTE: These fees are falling out of favor due to formality.

Gaju: Used for clan leaders or for parents and heads of household. Can be used accompanied by -nim or alone.

Naeuri: Used in the past to refer to people of the highest classes and status, however, inferior to his Excellency, used by commoners in the Joseon Dynasty.

Korean Honorary Titles, oppa

Comparison between Korean and Japanese honorifics

It is possible to say that the Korean and Japanese honorifics are completely different. Since there are few suffixes that resemble the other language.

Korean suffixes are more difficult than Japanese ones, but of course, studying a language is never easy, it is a matter of practice and dedication. So, just as Japanese is possible to learn Korean, don’t you think?

However, it is widely used in both Korea and Japan. As we have seen, there are also suffixes that are outdated by time, as there are also in Japan. Although they are different, they are part of the culture of their people and it is also something that foreigners like us must learn.

Some similarities in the suffixes or use of them are also due to Chinese culture and cultural influences spread throughout Asia. You may also want to see some similarities and differences between the Chinese, Korean and Japanese languages.

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you liked it, share and leave your comments! Thanks and see you in the next article!

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