Familial Titles in Korean: Who Are You?


Sometimes at big family reunions, you might find yourself staring at a relative and wondering who on earth they are. Hopefully not in English, but you’re wondering this in Korean. 누구세요? Who are you? What do I call you in Korean? Or perhaps you think you know what to call them but apparently you don’t and you should just give up because you brought tears to everyone’s eyes when you called your older sister by the wrong title. Not that I’ve ever done that



Ahem. So, go ahead and start learning all those titles. I have two sites to get you started. Firstly, here’s a site with a list of major relative titles, from close family members to your eldest brother’s wife and your younger sister’s husband. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include titles for cousins and such, so you should also check out this site, which includes a lot more! Like a video, which is almost always awesome.

Speaking of awesome videos, Talk To Me In Korean has a plethora of these.


Korean Kinship Terms Part 1 (Oppa, Nuna, Hyeong, etc.)



Korean Kinship Terms Part 2  (Parents, Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts…)



And by the way, if you’re a girl, don’t ever call your older sister 누나. Not that I’ve ever done that. 그죠, 언니?



The Plural Form in Korean


Dogs. Cats. People. Students. Eyes. What do these words have in common? They’re in the plural form. That’s right, 2+ of everything. But what about these?

개. 고양이. 사람. 학생.

You could read that as “Dog, Cat, Person, Student” – or you could interpret it as “Dogs, Cats, People, Students” depending on the context that I put it in.

In Korean, the official plural form comes as the addition of “-들” to a word, but it’s not used that frequently in everyday conversation. Can you still use it to clarify what you mean? Yes. Can you use it even if you don’t need to clarify because the context makes it already obvious? Yes. It’s not wrong to use “-들,” it’s just not as common as throwing in 사람 and meaning people, or 개 and meaning dogs. (Counter words and numbers help clarify the plural as well.) Continue reading

linguanaut – language learning survival tips


One of my favorite quick-reference sites is linguanaut. It has over 50 languages available, but I use it for Korean and Japanese. (Depending on the language you’re looking for, it has even more than just what the Korean section includes. For example, the Japanese references include a category just for famous Japanese sayings, which is pretty neat!) Its Korean section includes: Continue reading

Understanding Hajima & Kajima

Two of my favorite words in Korean are 하지마 (hajima) and 가자마 (kajima). They are both common words in everyday 반말 (banmal) or informal language, and they appear in just about every K-pop song.

하지마 (hajima) usually is translated as “Don’t do it”. 하 (ha) comes from the verb 하다 (hada) which means “to do.” 지마 (jima) is part of a negative conjugation where the speaker asks or orders someone else to not do something.


하 (ha) = “(you) do”


지마 (jima) = “don’t”

= “Don’t do it”

Seungri really doesn't want you to do it. Hajima!

Seungri really doesn’t want you to do it. Hajima!


Note that the Korean word for “you” is omitted. The person you’re talking to is implied by context.

Likewise, 가지마 (kajima) uses the conjugation of 지마 (jima). 가 (ka) comes from 가다 (kada) which is the verb meaning “to go.”


가 (ka) = “(you) go”


지마 (jima) = “don’t”

= “Don’t go.”

Please, GD, kajima!

Please, GD, kajima!


These phrases are commonly used in dramas where someone orders someone else not to do something or to go somewhere.


Person 1: 집에 가. (Jib-e ka.) “I’m going home.”

Person 2: 집에 가지마! (Jib-e kajima!) “Don’t go home!”

From http://25.media.tumblr.com/b0b55f4def1776af83390768a9c86fc2/tumblr_mgahm3FZMj1rwnim2o1_500.gif


Person 1: 그래. (Keurae.) “Okay.”


top jibe


That just about sums up GD & T.O.P.’s ‘Don’t Go Home’ song. Can you guess the Korean name of that song? 네. (Ne.) It’s 집에 가지마 (jib-e kajima).

Here’s an example using “Don’t do it.”


Person 1: 야…난…널… (Ya…Nan…Neol…) “Hey…I…to you…”

Person 2: 뭐? 야! 하지마! 하지마! (Mweo? YA! Hajima! Hajima!) “What? HEY! Don’t do (say) it! Don’t!”

Person 1: 사랑해. (Saranghae.) “I love you.”

T.O.P. loves SE7EN-hyung

T.O.P. loves SE7EN-hyung

Person 2: 하지마! 난 니가 싫어.. 넌 못생겼어.  (Hajima! Nan niga sirheo. Neon mot saengyeosseo.) “Don’t! I hate you. You’re ugly.”


T.O.P. disapproves


How about some song examples in K-pop where hajima or kajima are used very obviously?

Monster by Big Bang

Don’t Go Home/Jibe Kajima by GD & T.O.P.,

Stop It by B.A.P.



A/N: Revised April 9, 2018, as the previous version was written years ago when I barely knew any Korean; I previously (and mistakenly) told readers that these sentences can also mean “I don’t do it”. That was incorrect. 하지마 and 가지마 are both commands/requests to another person to not do something. An exception may occur in the form of a question in some situations, such as when someone teases someone else. The would-be teaser might ask, “하지마?” Effectively, they’re saying to the other person, “(Are you telling me) don’t do it?”

Happy studying!