If you use some pronouns such as ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘you’, it can be extremely rude in the Korean language when you have a conversation with anyone. There’s a big cultural difference between English and Korean language. Then, what should we do?
Pronouns in Korean Language
Native Koreans use some nouns instead of pronouns like titles such as mister, sir, ma’am or social positions like ‘teacher’ ,’boss’ or ‘brother’. Even when you talk about someone else (3rd person), you have to use a title to mention them, not only when you talk to the listener directly (2nd person).
You can use these 4 Korean words when the age gap is not much different. It’s based on situations, for example, I call a guy 형 who is 15 years older than me. Yes, we are very different generations and have a huge age gap. But I still call him 형. If you don’t know how to call them, then ask them what they prefer. Don’t overthink yourself.
These Are More
Basically, you can use any title as a pronoun. Here are more examples.
How To Use Them in Korean Language
You can use titles instead of pronouns. So, you can say ‘teacher’ instead of ‘she’, 아저씨 instead of ‘he’.
선생님은 한국어를 가르쳐요
He/she (teacher) teaches Korean
아저씨는 매일 일을해요
He (ajeossi) works everyday
You can add their name in front of titles. That makes the subject more clear who it is.
준 선생님은 한국어를 가르쳐요
Teacher Jun teaches Korean
= He teaches Korean
상미 아줌마는 제 옆집에 살아요
Sangmi lives next to my door
= She lives next to my door
But sometimes, it’s really confusing what to call them because it’s hard to guess their age by appearance sometimes. Or, we need to be more formal than usual. Then Korean language uses name + 씨 or name + 님.
Eunyeong / She
씨 is calling someone else politely, mostly used after 20 or when native Koreans start to work.
Jun / He
님 is what employees often use to call their customers and clients. And at online, everything is 님 basis at first.
Remember, Koreans often prefer using nouns instead of pronouns because it’s much more polite. Many Korean language tutorials teach ‘당신(you)’ or ‘그(he/she)’. But now you know they aren’t very correct in real life Korean language. Of course, we have more nouns that we can use instead of pronouns, you will find them from time to time while you are talking to native Koreans. Remember, Language is a culture and this is part of the Korean language.
But what should we do if we want to talk about many people? How can we make plurals? Why don’t you jump into the next tutorial? And if you liked this tutorial, join us in Patreon! I’ll wait for you there!
All tutorials was possible thanks to
- Nadine C
- Chris M
- Emily M
- Carly Sisson
- Lev Izraelit
- Tuoc Phan
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