One of the customs that I admire in Korea is ther customs of respect.
Respect for others according to seniority is a pillar of Korea's Confucianist traditions. Seniority is based on age, position in the family, job position, being a teacher, and the list goes on.
It is considered very impolite to address a Korean with his or her given name. Address Koreans using appropriate professional titles until specifically invited by your host or colleagues to use their given names. Honorific titles can help you figure out the nature of your relationship with other people.
For example, shi (씨) can be translated as Mr./Miss/Mrs. using this title, shows a sign or level of respect. Shi (씨) is attached at the end of the name.
Using shi (씨) also indicates a level of formality. This would be used towards strangers, but not friends.
|Song Joong Ki|
Song(송) last name
Joong Ki (중기) (first name)
1. Joong Ki shi (중기씨) means Mr. Joong Ki.
or could be
2. Song Joong Ki shi (송중기씨) means Mr. Joong Ki Song
Nim (님) is also a title of respect. Nim (님) is usually attached to professions. The difference between nim (님) and shi (씨) is that shi (씨) is used after actual names, while nim (님) is used after an occupation. The word for teacher (선생님) is a word that often has the nim (님) attached. It’s not only the professions that attach nim (님). The word for god (하나님) also contains this honorific title, so do family members like grandmother (할머님).
Sunbae (선배) is used to address someone who is either older than you or someone who has more experience in the same occupation as you. You’ll often hear the title sunbe (선배) in schools and at work or mostly in dramas. Sunbae (선배) is gender neutral, meaning you can use this towards women and men.
There are rare situations where a sunbae (선배) can be younger than his collegue and yet have more experience in the workplace.
In this case, it’s still okay to use the title sunbae (선배).
Next post we will discuss different family titles. Thank you for reading. 감사합니다!