The English language lacks



That was a custom in The Netherlands as well in days gone by, and you still find traces of it in some of our proverbs. We also still have a sort of nod that’s used as a greeting, instead of saying “hi”. Not everybody uses it, though, I think it’s mostly men who do it.

Btw, speaking of nodding, did you know that Bulgarians nod when they mean “no” and shake their head when they mean “yes”? If they’re talking to a foreigner, though, they might switch to the opposite, so you can never be sure whether they mean yes or no, hahaha. :joy:


:joy: Compulsion - I already do it and I then “realize” it after the fact. I did it at work the other day when I “said good bye” to my co workers. I usually nod but I find myself “bending forward” more :expressionless:

Do you ever catch yourself doing this though :sweat_smile:, like I find myself saying “Ottoke?” to myself when I get a brain spaz and forget what I was supposed to be doing :smile: I guess it’s shorter than " What am I doing?"…

Maybe it’s a cue for me to learn Korean.


Yes it is! The time has come … :crystal_ball:


OMG! I do the bow when I’m really grateful with someone who helped me since they can’t see my smile, and sometimes not even hear the Thank you part bc the mask muffles your voice.
Many people take their mask off to talk but I don’t take that chance. To my Hispanics that I know they are ‘religious’’ I do the sign of the cross and some get teary eyes bc they love to receive blessings (since in US that custom is rarely used and they miss it and cherish the memory of their parents doing that for them) I usually do it to young man and women. This makes up for the GOD BLESS YOU they can no longer hear from me through the mask (unless I scream/ which I won’t do of course) lol

I wave very fast to older ppl to thank them or say Hi.

This pandemic left us without showing affection of love towards others, but we can show love in other ways until we can finally hug and kiss them w/o fear of giving them a virus or them giving us the virus. It’s a cruel era I never thought I would see in my lifetime.


:joy::joy:so relatable!
yeah, i find myself going “Ige moya?!(이게 뭐야?! because romanization is weird lol)” when i get upset. I also sometimes use “pabo” and “i sekki!” at my brother when I don’t want to offend anyone but satisfy my own self.:joy: (I was confused for sometime because I thought ‘sekki’ was ‘bastard’ and then I saw a mom calling her son ‘ne sekki’ and I was like wahaaat???)
Of course, I think any person knows they’ve been watching one too many Kdramas when they find themselves going “AISHHH!!” when frustrated😂


When I visit Korea, sales ladies and cashiers often address me as Mother – I think it is both respectful and a little warmer than calling me “Customer” . As I live in Hawaii, I am very very used to being called “Auntie” of “Mama” or “Grandma” by anyone younger than me. I’ve always regarded that as a sign of respect and much prefer that to the universal “Honey” I get when visiting the Southwest or Southern US states.
But my Korean professor mentioned in class a trend in Korea which started a few years ago. Unless someone is in their 60’s, a lot of females are offended by being addressed as Ahjumma or Imo (Auntie) and males are offended by being called Ahjusshi as they imply the addressee is old. So we are supposed to say Cheogiyo which is a polite way of saying “Say there!” Even stranger, in hair/ facial salons, the practice has grown for the stylists to call the female clients Eonni, even if the customer is younger than the client! And as a sign of respect to the customer, honorific language is being misused so in a Starbucks, the barista might say “The coffee is ready” using the honorific style.


but what about if you have to carry on a conversation with the stranger? After the initial ‘cheogiyo’, how do you continue to address them? Because calling them ‘you(dangshin)’ is informal/disrespectful, right?


:joy: “pabo” means “stupid” in Korean right? But it means “Turkey” in Spanish and Filipino - the “Pabo pavo” :smile:

Re: “Aisshh” - that’s me with Aigoo but I find myself saying " Aigoo pobrecito" even though I’m neither Korean nor Hispanic :sweat_smile:

Cheogiyo - oh my goodness, kid you not , I had a dream with Ji Chang Wook :rofl: and in my dream I said " Cheogiyo" to him , I think I really need to learn Korean if I’m “speaking it” in my dreams :smile:

That deserves another thread " You know you’ve been watching too much K drama when…" :sweat_smile:


@choitrio My God, families are confusing :thinking: but yes in English. We don’t have specific words for younger or older siblings. In Britain the most common phrases when talking about siblings would be little brother, little sister, big Brother, big sister referring to siblings by name is also common. In the case of any in-laws we would usually refer to them by name. In Britain If you refer to an in-law formerly that is usually a sign that you don’t get along with your in-laws :slightly_smiling_face:

I suppose when saying that I should point out that in Britain. Whilst we are generally considered to be more formal than Americans. Formality is usually reserved for people we don’t know or only know in a professional capacity. in the case of friends, family, and in most cases in-laws. Formality for the most part isn’t commonplace

@mirjam_465 my eyes aren’t good enough to read parts of that chart above without my glasses :frowning_face: my vision only needs correcting slightly on the one eye , so in most cases, I don’t need my glasses. @mirjam_465 managed to make me use my glasses first time in a fortnight :grin: :laughing:


let’s actually do that!! it totally deserves one!:joy:


I was busy with Zombie translations yesterday but I am back to take a little break.

@cgwm808, I have noticed the trend to use “Unni” instead of “Ahjumma” and I find myself addressing waitresses at Korean restaurants as “Unni”. Many times I’ve heard “이모 (eemo)” being used as well though.

@vivi_1485 and @zinniac1216, I love the new topic idea. As to “cheogiyo”, it’s a good way to call someone’s attention and you don’t have to worry about how to address the person afterwards because during a direct conversation pronouns are not necessary.

@command_234, I think you bring up a very good point. In most western culture, I believe the more familiar you are to the person you are speaking with the more likely proper name would be used whereas for Koreans it is somewhat of the opposite.


In Dutch we don’t even have a word for that! We may have a brother or a sister, but no word to describe the both of them together. Which can be problematic while translating. If siblings are mentioned, we would translate it as “brothers and sisters”, but it may as well be a reference to the siblings of someone who has only sisters …
We don’t have special words for younger or older brothers or sisters, but we can make a diminutive of the words for sister or brother and thereby indicate that they are younger. We only use that when we talk about them to other people, though: “My little brother …bla bla bla” If the other person knows our little brother (or at least has heard us talking about them frequently), we might as well use his name.
We don’t address our siblings like this: “Sister, would you like some tea?”


A very accurate observation. Unfortuinately, that’s just how it is… when I first came to the US I didn’t feel comfortatble addressing elders informally.


I came to the USA when I was 13. Culturally, I wasn’t used to calling people by proper names. However, the real challenge was learning to pronounce the names correctly when I was still struggling to learn the language.


In Germany we do have “Geschwister” for siblings, but we don’t have special words for younger or older brothers and sisters. And we don’t address them as “Sister, how are you?”, we just use the first name. We can use as a kind of loving nickname the word “Schwesterherz” or “Bruderherz” which is a wordplay with sister and heart or brother and heart. Or use “Schwesterchen” and “Brüderchen” which means little sis and little bro. But beware to call you siblings like that in front of others :joy:

The same goes for in-laws. You may explain to someone “This is my sister-in-law.” but you would never address her in this way. And if you call someone “aunt” or “uncle” usually you add the first name. “Aunt Ida” and “Uncle Tom”.

You would never call a stranger “aunt” or “sister”, people would be very surprised. :grinning: In small villages or in your neighbourhood, you may call elderly people “Oma” wich means “Granny” and “Opa” which means “Grandpa”, but you add the last name and you should know this person.


i read that as ‘OPPA’ and started laughing so hard :joy::sweat_smile:



When I watched the first Korean drama with my daughters, we laughed so much about the “Oppa”, too. Although the German “Opa” has a different pronounciation, you say a long “O” like in “Obama” and a shorter “pa” like in “path”. :sweat_smile:


We also have the word “opa” and “oma” (no capital), but we pronounce both the o and the a long.


@somejuwels, @mirjam_465, and @vivi_1485, pretty hilarious about “oppa” and “opa”. This reminds me of my Spanish class when the professor warned us to be careful with the use of “embarrassed” because a similar sounding Spanish word “embarazada” means “pregnant”. Can you imagine trying to tell someone that you are embarrassed and that person goes away thinking you are pregnant? Lol.