, Your Guide to Korean Honorifics, Be Korean
, Your Guide to Korean Honorifics, Be Korean

Your Guide to Korean Honorifics

Mom & Father in Korean

, Your Guide to Korean Honorifics, Be Korean

In this lesson, we will discover just how to say ‘mom’ and also ‘Father’ in Korean. Family members is very important and, when possible, extra so in Korean society than in numerous various other nations. Either way, ‘mommie’ or ‘daddie’ is among the first, otherwise the initial, word most of us learn so in a sense, it is the most crucial word there is. What’s even more fascinating is that almost all languages appear to express these words in rather comparable means, even though the other words in the languages can appear completely various in every other method. So to say ‘Mom’ or ‘Father’ in Korean, here is how you do it!

The Familiar/ Casual Method

eomma (In Hangul: 엄마) = Mother

appa (In Hangul: 아빠) = Daddy

Currently, this literally translates to ‘mom’ or ‘father’. So to put it simply, it is an instead casual and also informal expression, much like in English. You can use this in everday circumstances such as talking with your buddies and also referring to your among you parents, or while addressing them directly. Currently, when you want to state ‘my mom/dad’ in Korean. You would think that you ought to simply claim ‘nae/jeh eomma’ (내/ 제 엄마), nonetheless this is incorrect. You must claim ‘uri eomma’ (우리 엄마), which literally equates to ‘our mom’. The exact same is certainly real for when you intend to say ‘my papa’. So in recap, usage when:

  • Speaking with your very own moms and dads.
  • Discussing your own moms and dads with close friends.

Currently, allow’s have a look at the more formal expression.

The Formal/ Courteous Means

eomeoni (In Hangul: 어머니) = mom

abeoji (In Hangul: 아버지) = Father

These expressions are a lot more official and as well as typical and look like the English word ‘mother’ as well as ‘father’ greater than the first ones we found out. While it is still common for the older/middle-aged generations to make use of these expressions when they speak with their own parents, they are not generally made use of by the more recent generation when chatting straight to their own parents.

Rather it’s even more typically made use of when discussing either your very own parents in a formal/non-casual setup or when talking to or concerning somebody else’s moms and dads. As well as much like the expression over, you need to utilize ‘uri’ (우리) if you wish to state ‘my mom’. To sum up, this is used:

  • When some individuals of the older generations talk to their moms and dads.
  • When talking to or concerning someone elses parents.

Finally, let’s have a look at one of the most formal method.

The MOST Formal Means

, Your Guide to Korean Honorifics, Be Korean

eomeonim (In Hangul: 어머님) = mom

abeonim (In Hangul: 아버님) = Daddy

So this is one of the most official method to claim ‘mom’ and ‘papa’ in Korean. You can utilize these words when the scenario requires you to be slightly a lot more respectful and also official than in the scenario utilized in the slightly much less official way we found out above. So for example, you can make use of these words when:

  • Meeting a pals parents for the very first time
  • Satisfying your partner or guys moms and dads for the initial few times. When develop a closer relationship with them, you can make use of “eomeoni” (어머니) and “abeoji” (아버지).

So this is virtually all you need to know in order to state mom as well as papa in Korean. For more lessons such as this one, please check out our everyday Korean archive, and if you liked this lesson, we would certainly significantly appreciate if you would like or share it with your close friends. If you have any type of concerns, leave a comment below and we will certainly do our finest to assist you out! 

Titles certainly include flair to any name. In the English-speaking world, it really feels special and also official on the occasions when somebody makes the effort to call us something fancy like “sir” or “ma’am.”. Utilizing words like this is a means of dressing up our language as well as being extra respectful. Yet in Korean, titles are basically a daily affair in discussion, whether you’re with friends as well as grooving the most recent road talk or suited up and also making respect your center name when resolving your employer or company partners.

So if you’re learning Oriental and the particulars of holding a discussion, it’s vital to know what those titles are and also when to use them. But why all the fuss with how we attend to other people? Well, as you might know, regard and also decorum are a massive handle Korea. In conversation or writing, regard in Korean can be ingrained also in the grammar of one’s words, entailing careful noun choice, including suffixes to particular words or even altering an entire verb phrase. Today, we’ll be concentrating on honorific suffixes and also titles.

Honorifics are words specifically implied to express regard for individuals like your seniors and those in exceptional placements, social or otherwise.

Normally this matter is uncomplicated, as you can most likely tell when someone is worthy of an honorific based on their ranking or age. Nonetheless, honorifics can be simply based upon familiarity with a person: Some honorifics reveal you recognize someone well enough, yet strangers or those you aren’t near commonly obtain an honorific by default.

Honorifics are incredibly important in Korean culture for proper discussion and relationship-building, and failing to remember to use them can be seen as very ill-mannered.

Must-know Korean Honorifics and also Titles for Everyday Talk

, Your Guide to Korean Honorifics, Be Korean


The basic regulation for determining which honorific to utilize is to recognize that you’re talking with. You will not require way too much information in order to pick the best honorific, however overall, it’s a secure selection to utilize an honorific when you first fulfill somebody. It’s taken into consideration discourteous to resolve a Korean person you do not know well with their provided name, so starting with a title is best.

If you’re puzzled or uncomfortable about selecting, you can ask the individual directly to see which honorific they favor. Do not be shy regarding it, either! Korean honorifics can be a challenging organisation, numerous will be recognizing about it.

Common Korean Honorifics

씨 (shi)
When contributed to a name, this essentially suggests Mr./ Mrs./ Miss. It’s the most typical and also general honorific, and also your go-to for somebody who you’re not familiar with yet is at a fairly equivalent social and conversational standing.

This suffix must constantly be affixed after the first name of the person, as well as not their surname.

For instance, you could state:

김영철 씨 (Kim Young-chul shi, or primarily “Mr. Kim Young-chul”). Or to be extra casual, 영철 씨 (Young-chul shi, or “Mr. Young-chul”).
Yet you would not state 김 씨 (Kim shi). Connecting the suffix to the surname is viewed as improper or straight-up impolite, so it’s finest to prevent it entirely.

군 (tough guy)/ 양 (yang).
Two honorifics that are not as usual as 씨 however still concerning the same in meaning. 군 is utilized for younger and single males as well as 양 is for more youthful as well as single ladies. You’ll generally hear these at official occasions, especially wedding celebrations. One point of distinction from 씨 is that you can connect these 2 after the initial or surname; doing the last won’t produce a discourteous undertone like with 씨.

Nevertheless, though you may periodically listen to these titles utilized by older folk, nowadays they might be seen as condescending for younger individuals considering that they can suggest that the listeners are to be passive or think specific sex duties. For that reason, while these two titles serve to know, we recommend you not attempt to use them in day-to-day discussion.

님 -( nim).
If you wish to go above and beyond in regard, 님 is your honorific. This is a step over 씨 and typically for those of a profession or notable ability or condition, such as a 선생님 (seon-saeng-nim– teacher) or a 목사님 (mok-sa-nim– pastor). It may likewise be heard during customer interactions if a staff member wants to be extra polite.

선배 (sun-bae)/ 후배 (hu-bae).
These are for those who are your elders or juniors specifically, either in age or experience, as well as are generally listened to in the work environment or at school. Since these aren’t age-restricted, you can call a person a senior even if they’re more youthful, must they be a lot more knowledgeable or at a greater setting, and also a person a junior if they’re older however less knowledgeable. These honorifics can likewise be stand-alones, indicating they can be a pronoun by themselves– you can just call a person 선배 or 후배.

귀하 (gwi-ha).
This honorific is very formal and one you’ll likely see more often in composing than in discussion. 귀하 equates to “dear” and so you’ll see it frequently in official letters or when a business is resolving a beneficial customer, typically with the full name thus: 윤희철 귀하 (Yoon Hee-chul-gwi-ha).

Not-so-honorific Korean Titles

, Your Guide to Korean Honorifics, Be Korean


There are also titles suggested for those who won’t command much politeness. Remember these are only implied for addressing close friends or those of an equivalent or lesser position than you. For that reason, you can additionally consider them to be a lot more informal in nature. They’re couple of in number, however you’ll be hearing them almost everywhere in table talk.

아 (ah)/ 야 (ya).
2 suffixes that are often contributed to highlight you calling out to a person. For example, if you want to capture the interest of your buddy 재민 (Jae-min), you may say “재민아!” (Jae-min-ah). Keep in mind that 아 is just connected after a name that finishes in a Korean consonant, a good tip that you need to know your Hangul! We just really utilize this permanently pals or those who aren’t our superiors. It’s additionally typical for parents to utilize this for youngsters, yet you wouldn’t wish to address your moms and dads in this manner!

야 is also utilized for good close friends or those who are younger or in a reduced position than you. It resembles 아 in working as a “call-out,” but 야 is connected to names finishing in Oriental vowels, not consonants. So for a person named 연지 (Yun-jee), you can say “연지야” (Yun-jee-ya) however not “연지아.” Kids are frequently receivers of this suffix. In many cases, it’s a caring suffix that notes an intimate or casual connection.

Bear in mind that words 야 likewise serves as an interjection, or exclamation, when not made use of as a suffix to a name. Because case, it functions a great deal like an informal “Hey!” in discussion. For instance, “야! 너 일로 와” (Ya! Nuh ee-llo wa– “Hey! Come right here, you”). This 야 is frequently used when someone is agitated or mad at one more, and also in warmed circumstances it makes clear that close vibes aren’t rather present. Ensure you use 야 as intended, or you could be captured in a little a pickle.

놈 (nom)/ 년 (nyun).
On their own, these are defamatory ways to describe a man or lady, respectively, and also being used they highlight the badness or unfavorable high qualities of the recipient. These suffixes generally don’t even require the actual name of the recipient– instead, someone can attach a disparaging word right prior to it like 미친놈 (mi-chin-nom, literally “insane person”). Certainly, it’s all context-dependent. Like specific insults in any language, these can additionally be utilized in a more teasing and caring fashion between friends.

Korean Titles for Family or Older Buddies

, Your Guide to Korean Honorifics, Be Korean


You might currently recognize that age is a bit of a large offer in Oriental culture, however why? Like numerous Asian cultures, Oriental culture has actually been highly influenced by Confucian worths, and the ideas of filial holiness as well as expected respect for your seniors still run strong today. Making use of titles is simply one distinct and apparent method of sharing such respect, and research studies have actually revealed that Koreans have a tendency to place especially huge value on age when choosing honorifics.

By default, younger Oriental brother or sisters describe their older siblings using special titles, usually instead of their real names, while senior brother or sisters in turn can call their more youthful brother or sisters their given names. While they’re sometimes a lot more terms of kinship than honorifics, these titles still reveal understanding of the age distinction. The exact same titles can additionally be made use of for those that are not naturally associated, yet are still older than you and also are fine with being attended to even more familiarly.

Below they are:.

  • 오빠 (op-pa): older bro/ male number of a female individual
  • 형 (hyung): older sibling/ male figure of a male individual
  • 누나 (nu-na): older sis/ women figure of a male individual
  • 언니 (un-ni): older sister/ female figure of a female individual
    Note that each of these titles are gender-specific, so a male person wouldn’t call his older sibling 오빠 as well as a female person would not call her sister 누나.

Korean honorifics

So don’t be stunned if rather early in a relationship a Korean individual asks you how old you are. Additionally bear in mind that they may be thinking in regards to “Oriental age,” implying adhering to the lunar schedule. In these terms, an individual would certainly be one years of age on the day they’re born and would certainly mature every New Year’s day. This can definitely be puzzling for non-Koreans, so here’s a calculator to help you identify what your Oriental age would be.

Honorifics are most definitely crucial and also something you’ll come across in Oriental everyday. Nevertheless, it can take a long time to comprehend them with confidence, so do not bother with getting it okay from the start.

With adequate method, you’ll know Korean honorifics like the rear of your hand and also have the ability to dish them bent on whoever, whenever like a true native. All the best!”

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