Ko-en subtitlers, please put formality level in team notes

There is a post about how to listen to formality levels and recognize them. I thought I would link it here, maybe it is useful for someone


Good topics like these always get buried. I had been searching for a formality guide of OLs.

Hindi has 4 + 1 (many treat super super formal and super formal equally) levels of politeness (can be 6 if we also include “gangster-language” which is the rudest).
The Super-Super Formal - आप हैं/आप कीजिएगा/आप जाइएगा
The Super Formal - आप हैं/आप कीजिए/आप जाइए
The Formal - आप हो/आप करो/आप जाओ
The Casual - तुम हो/तुम करो/तुम जाओ
The Informal - तू है/तू कर/तू जा
The rudest gangsta in town - (For this one, instead of “you”, “I” changes. Just like difference between “俺” and “私” in Japanese. However, unlike “ore”, normally people won’t use this form.) - अपुन

  • The Super super formal/super formal is used between politicians, celebrities (on-screen), on debate shows and news channels. In real life, I use this one with complete strangers and when I want to be sarcastic.
  • Formal is used by juniors for seniors, children for parents, wives to their husbands (older couples), acquaintances. I use this with my parents, neighbors, teachers, really young kids (2-6 yrs old) and alike
  • Casual is used between new friends (more than acquaintances, less than good friends), by teachers to students, by seniors to juniors, by husbands to wives (older couples), lovers (when they just fall in love), older siblings to their younger siblings. Casual can be used in the same manner as informal but by people in 30s or 40s. I use this with my classmates I am not close with, not so close friends, teenagers, and my siblings
  • Informal is used between best friends, young couples, older to younger sibling, when talking to yourself. It is used mostly by teens and people in their 20s. However, it isn’t uncommon to see elderly people using this form. This form is even used in patriotic songs and prayers. I use this with classmates, my siblings and with me.
  • Rudest form would be great for loan sharks, criminals and gangsters.

When I was new, I faced severe backlash from my team for having used informal and received this statement as the reason, “We’ve never used this, and never saw anyone else using “tu”. So we won’t use it in this drama too.”
It was so uncomfortable to see teens talk like people in their 30s.

I second that.

Might sound weird, but there could be a virtual formality level to differentiate between several formality levels. A1 could mean politest form, A2 less polite than A1, B1 for casual, B2 for less casual than B1, similarly C1 and C2… However, implementation of this thought seems difficult.

For me, the general rule is seniors to juniors, parents to kids - informal
juniors to seniors, kids to parents, if the formality isn’t known - formal.

I have this extensive sheet for Imitation which contains the formality levels. Inspired by a Spanish sheet found in Team Discussions


Couldn’t agree more. Despite the fact, I can clearly see use of informal speech between characters, I sometimes have to use formal and vice versa. Or sometimes have to switch between formal and informal between same characters and switch it back after some time.


Is this form grammatically correct?


Thanks for bumping this topic! This is really important! :smile: Taking notes for when I get into leadership roles in the future :writing_hand::writing_hand::sweat_smile:


This is still a debatable topic. Many people in North India, still use आप हो/आप करो/आप जाओ (really common in movies, shows, songs). In Khadi Boli, both forms are correct, and is in popular use. However, Manak Hindi rejects this idea, marking आप as बहुचन। For Manak Hindi, आप हो would be grammatically incorrect, but Khadi Boli accepts this idea.

Search results for the same by Google:

However, despite knowing Manak Hindi marks this formality incorrect, I still use it in singular cases. If someone is talking with one person, I’d use आप हो/आप करो/आप जाओ. If someone is talking with more than one, I’d use आप हैं/आप कीजिए/आप जाइए.

After all, this is how languages evolve. If something is in popular use, it will, over time, become a rule.

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There are a lot of useful topics buried here. There’s one even on use of curse words.

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धन्यवाद, आप एक अच्छी शिक्षिका हैं|


I use formal and informal based on who is talking. Mostly "aap- आप " and "tum- तुम " …"tu- तू " is used only when someone is rude. Whenever I see “bitch or wench”, I use "bad person - खराब " instead. For words like “jerk, bastard, punk, sob” etc, I use “बदमाश, गुंडे, कमीने, कुत्ते” . I am not sure if person is actually calling the other bastard or just something like jerk , because in Hindi bastard means not knowing who your father is.

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If you are referring to what sounds like “gae sekki-ya” (개새끼야! ), it means son of a dog. So nothing to do with your mother’s morals. It’s more of a generic insult, not always to be translated as bastard. Sometimes a more appropriate way would be the generic “jerk!”
And what sounds like “kicchibeh” means just “home girl”. At what point this became a derogatory term, I don’t know. Probably because in the olden days, you being a girl in itself put you in a lowly status. But it is not used only as an insult, you can hear girl friends saying that in an affectionate way, even mothers to daughters.

This was discussed in the thread quoted above by shraddhasing.

I have made a whole document on Korean insults and slang, it might help you to have a look. I have put in red the ones we encounter more often, so that you don’t have to go through everything.


This doc is really informative! I always thought “개불” was the equivalent of “Bullsh*t” though… that’s what I’ve seen it being translated to :thinking:

The word you’re looking for is 개뿔with double B
combined word of 개 (dog) + 뿔 (horn). A dog doesn’t have horns, so…

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ohhh thanks for clarifying!^^

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I also thought “gaeshikiya” was SOB but for some reason, it has been usually translated into bastard so I just use equivalent word in Hindi like I said before. For girls, I use "chokri -छोकरी , ladki- लड़की , bcchi - बच्ची " – these are all equivalent to "Girl, Wench, Hey You…"etc. For boys, similarly "chokre -छोकरे , ladke -लड़के , bacche -बच्चे " etc .
I am sure in any old culture, being called Bastard is one of worst things.
Before in Hindi and Punjabi Cinema the worst anyone would call each other was “bastard, Sob / Prostitute” but now lot of movies have fbombs and worse. You cannot watch them with your parents!


SOB is too harsh, it is one step further than gae sekkya.
I think in Arab “son of a dog” is an insult, but on the milder end of the scale. Parents even call their kids “ibn/bint kalb” when they’re mad at them, so it’s not too bad.
In English we also have “son of a gun”.


SOB would be closest to “son of dog” in literal meaning but I get it that “gae-shikkiya”'s meaning is not that severe. In Hindi/Punjabi, their is curse word “saale”. It means wife’s brother and is used to address or to curse someone. I guess wife’s family was considered less than a man’s. I rather use that then using bastard anytime.

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It is close, but SOB it has an implication about the mother’s morals, insinuating she’s a loose woman. Whereas “son of a dog” doesn’t insult the mother as well.

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swear words are so complex sometimes :slight_smile: SOB is more popular in America. “Dog”(literally) is more used in India as far as I know. When I was growing up there, we heard these in movies mostly - "Saale(wife’s brother) -साले , Kutte (dog) - कुत्ते , Kmeene(Heinous person) - कमीने " …
Bastard was used to insult deeper. In fact, a popular line was always “Kutte, Kmeene, I will drink your blood!” :slight_smile:

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I didn’t even read the English part of the sentence. I straight up read the entire Hindi dialogue :rofl::rofl::rofl:

I don’t mind using harsh swear words if the show is rated R. If it isn’t, I just choose between these, depending upon the context and original Korean word. साले, नालायक, बेवकूफ, कमीने, कुत्ते के बच्चे, गधे के बच्चे, गधे, चुड़ैल, डायन, ओए, अबे, सुन इधर, नमकहराम, हरामज़ादे, कुत्ते।
However, I have never used all of these words. Some of these are not even swear words but just insults. I’d rather use insults instead of swear words if used by teens.

In case, swear words are used in a fight, I might increase the level of insult.

I have a hard time using “Seonbe and hubae” because “sun” and “be” (same as Korean sounds) in Hindi would be “Listen here you little ****”. Of course, despite the word being in Korean and meaning senior, I just sometimes laugh at how any Hindi speaker would react on this word :joy:

My sibling and I just laugh every time a high school girl is fangirling one of her seniors and shouts out loud, “Sunbae!!!”

Similar for “Hubae”, “Hu” means “am” and “be” is used as insult. So, if I transliterate Hubae, it would be something like “I am here, so what” (in a more insulting tone).

I do sometimes just transliterate Senior and Junior if that’s the last option.


For Sunbae and Hoobae (both one word), I use Senior and Junior if needed. Otherwise I just use Sir or Madam or Mr./Miss (Name) Or name with Ji at end. We, Indians, don’t address our seniors or juniors the same way Koreans do. We also don’t use Position Titles as much. It is again mostly Sir/Madam or Names with Ji at end to show respect.
One thing used to confuse me in before that people called others’ mom/dad - mom/dad or grandma/grandfather etc. but I have since figured that we use Aunty/Uncle/Maanji/Babaji etc similarly.

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Another funny one in almost every 80s movie was – “मैं तुम्हारे बच्चे की माँ बनने वाली हूँ” (I am going to be a mother of your child) … We would be falling down with laughter on those scenes. What a concept it was …It is snowing outside and the couple is always stuck somewhere remote with no coats so they have to – to keep warm??? Or it is raining and same thing.