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?

 

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Family Outing

Family Outing Season 1

Family Outing Season 1

(Link updated 6/23/14; please comment if links do not work! Thank you.)

안녕하세요!

One of my favorite Korean variety shows is Family Outing (패밀리가 떴다). It’s a hilarious two-season show that aired several years ago and still provides fantastic information on life in the Korean countryside. A core group of celebrities – from singers like Kim Jong Kook, Yoon Jong Shin, BIGBANG’s Kang Daesung and Lee Hyori (a solo artist originally from Fin.K.L) to models and actors like Lee Chunhee, Kim Sooro, and Park Yejin to the “Nation’s MC” Yoo Jae Suk – along with celebrity guests go to different rural villages and small towns throughout South Korea and spend about a day and a half living in the home of an elderly couple. They take care of the couple’s chores and house while the elders are sent on a vacation.

Note: The core group changed during the show; Kim Jong Kook was unable to begin immediately, Park Ye Jin and Lee Chunhee left to pursue solo activities, and Park Haejin and Park Siyeon filled the empty spots. 

And sometimes they do things like create a "family band" and perform for villagers.

And sometimes they do things like creating a “family band” and then perform personally composed songs for the local villagers.

 

Family Outing is a gold mine of language-learning and culture exposure. Each episode is full of interesting activities – ever wondered how kimchi is made? Ever seen a really old machine heat up and pop rice so explosively that it make Yoo Jae Suk want to run away? Ever learned how to prepare squid after catching it yourself? Ever seen a pretty, delicate Korean actress named Park Yejin pop an eye out of a fish? (These celebrities have to get the ingredients and make the meals besides performing the chores and playing games. I’ll be honest – there was a scandal about how real their ingredients-gathering was, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the show or learning Korean!) This is just a tiny peek at what you’ll see in Family Outing.

"One Man" Kim Jong Kook catches "One Fish"

“One Man” Kim Jong Kook catches “One Fish”

 

Family Outing wouldn't be Family Outing without lots of ridiculous and hilarious games to play.

Family Outing wouldn’t be Family Outing without lots of ridiculous and hilarious games.

Family Outing has the trademark subtitling of a Korean variety show, too, making it so rich for the language-learner. Much of what is said is also subtitled or rephrased in Korean. When a celebrity is surprised, the screen flashes a huge “SURPRISED” in Korean. When someone yells SHIMBATA – translated basically as eureka or a cry of victory – it’s subtitled in big, easy hangul. Don’t ignore these and only read the English subtitles – absorb all the Korean you can. Reading Korean subtitles will help with your language comprehension.

Chunderella choom choom chooming...clumsily.

Chunderella and Step-mother Sooro choom choom chooming…clumsily. 바보야~!

 

This show is funny. It’s so funny that you might want to warn others around you before you watch it, or else you’ll startle them with fits of maniacal laughter. You’ll love everyone on the show so much that by the time you finish the first season, you’ll feel like you’re saying goodbye to an actual family that you’re a part of. You’ll begin to understand the social interactions between old and young, male and female, in Korea. You’ll pick up slang, vocabulary, quick phrases. You’ll appreciate Korean culture for its tradition and its beauty. And you’ll find that watching Family Outing – while being a great learning experience – gives you that smile and that laugh that you need after a long day.

 

Yoo Jae Suk, the Nation's MC, endures a lot of burdensome moments for the sake of the audience's laughs...and because he's a really, really nice person in real life.

Yoo Jae Suk, the Nation’s MC, endures a lot of burdensome moments for the sake of the audience’s laughs…and because he’s a really, really nice person in real life.

 

감사합니다!

Please Look After Mom: a Korean novel of family, heartache, and loss

안녕하세요!

 

I recently read Please Look After Mom, a novel revolving around a family’s search for their missing foundation – their mother and wife. The famous South Korean author, Kyung-sook Shin, spun her masterpiece so flawlessly that I thought it was at least partly autobiographical; I discovered in this article that I wasn’t the only one – “‘She thought the story was completely real,'” (x Kyung-sook Shin about one of her readers).

 

Please Look After Mom is an award-winning novel (published in English in 2011) that not only provides a tragic and beautiful tale of how a Korean family comes to terms with the disappearance of their aging mom, but it also gives insight into Korean culture and tradition. Yet as the story is in a modern setting, this insight isn’t limited to historical culture – it shows the reader the effect of Korea’s rapid development and how it has influenced the younger generation (the daughter and son) as opposed to the older (the father and the missing mother). And for the literary-lovers, it’s rich with symbolism that ices the cake of this book.

 

I absolutely recommend Please Look After Mom, whether you read it for its literary value, or to learn more about Korean culture, or even just because you’re looking for something new to read. Please Look After Mom by Kyung-sook Shin is crafted to be accessible and rewarding for anyone.

 

감사합니다!