I watched Shin Hye Sun in a couple of shows this last year that took me off on a tangent with the Korean language. Have you ever noticed the subtitles not matching the names the characters are saying? Come and see what I noticed about how Koreans address each other, and then, if you have more information, please comment! (We have tried hard to find the correct word usage and romanization of the Korean words. Meaning, we scoured the internet and picked the brains of our members who are learning Korean. That said, we know we may have a few mistakes here, so let us know if you see something so we can use the correct term. -Clkytta)
Thirty But Seventeen
In Thirty But Seventeen Shin Hye Sun plays Seo Ri, who comes out of a thirteen-year coma and tries to restart her life. She goes looking for her house but it is now owned by Woo Jin’s family. According to the subtitles, he had told the housekeeper, Jennifer, that his nephew was coming. Why does Jennifer let her in? That’s what I wanted to know.
To find out I looked up a few things and listened again. Woo Jin actually
Woo Jin’s sister had asked him to take charge of her son while she and her husband were gone for a while. He is her
Woo Jin calls his sister noona, which tells us she is an older sister. In talking to him, she refers to her husband as his maehyung, meaning a brother-in-law who is your older sister’s husband. There are lots of terms for older relatives, and they all depend on who is older than who, or if they are on your mother’s or your father’s side of the family! I’ll be talking about the ones I notice the most.
A girl calls an older sister
Woo Jin’s nephew, Chan, calls him
Just like Chan, Seo Ri calls her uncle we-
While waiting for episodes of Thirty But Seventeen to come out I watched Five Children, which has a lot more relatives in it! It’s about a widower with two children marrying a divorcee with three, and trying to blend their families. In this show, Shin Hye Sun plays the younger sister of the widower, and they have another brother in between them in age. Her character here is Yeon Tae, and that’s the only name we will worry about remembering from this show. See if you can find her in the picture!
Although Yeon Tae usually calls both of her brothers oppa, she often calls the younger one “younger oppa.” This is interesting because oppa means “older brother” so we have “younger older brother” here. I found that the older one is keun oppa, and the younger one is jageun oppa. Boys use different terms, however and the younger of her brothers calls the older one hyung.
To avoid spoilers, I’ll just tell you that these two are brothers who are involved in the story with Yeon Tae and her sister-in-law. Since this is a Korean drama after all, we are not surprised to get a sort of tangled love story. Just that, knowing the custom of extending family titles, it is natural to call a boyfriend oppa.
This sister-in-law is actually Yeon Tae’s brother’s sister-in-law. (She’s the sister of his wife who died – he’s a widower, remember.) His children call her
Here we have Yeon Tae’s parents (in blue) and her oldest brother with his in-laws (in red). Since his family name is Lee, as their son-in-law they call him Lee
The whole family had a hard time accepting the remarriage. The first half of the show was very funny, with a lot of craziness, and then there were a few episodes that were difficult to get through because of all the hard feelings. However, the end was good again, as we watch Yeon Tae’s brother and his new wife thoughtfully working it through and learning to call each other yeobo.
We can’t end without showing the other three kids and the grandma, who everyone calls
This is Yeon Tae’s dad, who is the sweetest ever, and became my favorite Kdrama dad ever! Father in Korean is abeoji, but she calls him appa, which you have to keep straight from oppa!
Both of these shows are heartwarming, fun to watch, and well acted. Thirty But Seventeen has a lot of misunderstandings, and Five Children has annoying characters who mostly mature and become favorites. The mama bears get tough only when their cubs are in trouble, and the papa bears are complete softies. I hope you enjoy them!
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi