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Honorifics

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Honorifics are often used in Korean culture so signify informal or formal speech between people depending on age, gender, and/or their relationship.

Below is a list of commonly-used honorifics used in Korean webtoons. This list is based on the original by The Company.

The first five honorifics can be used both with the name attached or on their own. Leez can call Ran "Oppa" instead of "Ran-oppa" with no problems. The same is not true for -nim or -ssi, which are always used after a name or title.

Honorific Formal/
Informal
Meaning/Use Example
-oppa
Oppa
informal Used when the speaker is female. Although it literally means "older brother", it is also used by younger females to address older males who are not blood relatives. It also signifies a level of closeness. Leez speaking to Ran
-unni
Unni
informal Used when the speaker is a female. Although it literally means "older sister", it is also used by younger females to address older females who are not blood relatives. It also signifies a level of closeness.
-nuna
Nuna
informal Used when the speaker is a male. Although it literally means "older sister", it is also used by younger males to address older females who are not blood relatives. It also signifies a level of closeness. Ran speaking to Rana
-hyung
Hyung
informal Used when the speaker is male. Although it literally means "older brother", it is also used by younger males to address older males who are not blood relatives. It als signifies a level of closeness. Yuta speaking to Maruna
-sunbae
Sunbae
Used to address seniors, i.e. those who attended the same school/university/workplace ahead of the speaker. It is sometimes used with -nim for additional formality (i.e. sunbae-nim). Asha to Airi. "Airi-sunbae-nim"
-nim formal Used to address those of deserving status. It signifies a high level of respect. Brilith, as a priest, is addressed using -nim by most. "Priest-nim", "Brilith-nim"
-ssi formal Used to address non-intimates politely. Throughout Kubera, it is usually translated as Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss. -ssi has been left in only when the gender of the person addressed is unknown or intended to be ambiguous.
Ajussi informal This is not used with a name. It is used by children and teens to address adult married males (generally in their 30s-50s). It is translated throughout Kubera to "Mister". Leez speaking to God Kubera
Ajumma informal This is not used with a name. It is used by children and teens to address adult married females (generally in their 30s-50s).
(no honorific) informal No honorific indicates closeness. It is usually used only between people of the same age. It is also used by adults to address children and teens. Ran and Leez defy this rule by addressing Asha without an honorific.


See also: Wikipedia:Korean honorifics

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