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rosehips
Hi everyone,
I hope you are all well, and unaffected by the tragedy in Japan. I'm so sorry if anyone you know has been impacted.

I'm coming to you again for advice so I can make my novel's Korean American characters more authentic.

Here are my current questions:
How do you say mom, dad, uncle, and aunt in Korean?
Would a Korean American who does not speak Korean very well be likely to refer to his parents and aunts and uncles by these Korean words? Or would he have always called them mom and dad in English? The mother and father in question are Korean immigrants, so they may have spoken Korean in the home.
Is it unrealistic for Korean immigrants to *not* speak Korean to their child as he grew up?

Is it likely that in English he would use the term "auntie," like I've read the Chinese do in some novels?

My mother is French and always spoke French to me, so I am biligual. But she says when I got to be around three or something I wanted to speak to her in English. She had to pretend she didn't understand me to get me to continue speaking in French. So I'm thinking maybe that would be the scenario with my KA guy. Except his parents didn't force him to keep speaking Korean.

It's actually not all that important that he *not* speak Korean, just that he not be very fluent, so perhaps there's some middle ground. What do you all think?

ETA: What's the standard greeting between family members? How about when you meet someone new? My KA character, Daniel, is introducing his girlfriend, Veronica, to his uncle, aunt, mother and father. He also has cousins but as they have lived their whole lives in America, I'm going with standard American manners for them. I don't intend to make the older generation exotic, but I do want to represent them realistically. In another thread folks here have said that as assimilated immigrants, they'd have adopted American manners. Is this also the case with greetings? Among themselves as well as with an American guest? What if one person was more assimilated than the rest, how would I show that?
tom2011
QUOTE
How do you say mom, dad, uncle, and aunt in Korean?


This might get complex, so hold onto your hat.

The Informal way: Omma(mom), Appa(dad), Samchohn(uncle), Yeemo(aunt from mother's side), Ghomo(aunt from father's side).

The Honorific way: Ommoni(mother), Aboji(father)

QUOTE
Would a Korean American who does not speak Korean very well be likely to refer to his parents and aunts and uncles by these Korean words? Or would he have always called them mom and dad in English?


Korean American who does not speak Korean very well would call them by informal way described above. Koreans who speak Korean well, and grew up in Korea *may* use the honorific way, if the parents are strict with their children.

QUOTE
Is it unrealistic for Korean immigrants to *not* speak Korean to their child as he grew up?


Correct. Unusual. First generation Korean immigrants speak Korean to their children early on, but usually end up mixing Korean with English, later on. The second generation Koreans with poor Korean speaking ability will talk to their children strictly in English.

QUOTE
Is it likely that in English he would use the term "auntie," like I've read the Chinese do in some novels?


I'm not sure, but that could mean "Ajumma" in Korean. An Ajumma means any older lady, who is not related by blood. The term for any young woman or girl is "Agasshi".

QUOTE
It's actually not all that important that he *not* speak Korean, just that he not be very fluent, so perhaps there's some middle ground. What do you all think?


Even if he cannot speak a word of Korean, he would still use the informal Korean way to address his relatives - 100% guaranteed.

QUOTE
ETA: What's the standard greeting between family members?


"Good morning, appa (or, omma, etc) " if he can't speak Korean.

QUOTE
How about when you meet someone new? My KA character, Daniel, is introducing his girlfriend, Veronica, to his uncle, aunt, mother and father. He also has cousins but as they have lived their whole lives in America, I'm going with standard American manners for them.


Yes. Also, Veronica might have asked Daniel, "how do you say hello in Korean". She may say "anhyonghaseyo" , as courtesy, when she meets his family for the first time.

QUOTE
I don't intend to make the older generation exotic, but I do want to represent them realistically. In another thread folks here have said that as assimilated immigrants, they'd have adopted American manners. Is this also the case with greetings?


If the immigrant parents had just stepped off the boat, it might be different. But since they've lived in America for a long time, you'd best to use adopted American manners, with smattering of Korean thrown in, here and there, mixed with English.

QUOTE
Among themselves as well as with an American guest? What if one person was more assimilated than the rest, how would I show that?


It's hard to say, unless you become more specific with the characters.
Yer
More specific:

mom - omma/uhmma
dad - appa
aunt (mom's sister) - eemo
aunt (dad's sister) - gomo
aunt (parent's brother's wife) - sukmo/sookmo
uncle (parent's brother) - samchon
uncle (mom's sister's husband) - eemobu
uncle (dad's sister's husband) - gomobu
older sister/cousin - nuna (or first name + nuna)
older brother/cousin - hyung (or first name + hyung)
random older male (maybe less than ten year age difference, or under 40) - hyung
random older female (") - nuna
random older male (big age difference, generally middle aged or older) - ajusshi
random older female (") - ajumma
grandmother - halmoni
grandfather - haraboji

A younger sister or female cousin might call Daniel "oppa" or "Daniel oppa."
A younger sibling or cousin, or someone the same age is usually called by the first name if you're on familiar terms with one another.

Among Korean Americans, it's somewhat normal to call a person who's not older by much by his/her Western name. Ex. "Hey, John!" instead of "John hyung!"
But some Koreans can be pretty stiff about this, and refuse to let juniors address them without honorifics. These are usually the more "fobby" Koreans.

My impression is that people generally call their parents "appa" and "omma" while speaking Korean but switch to "mom" and "dad" while speaking English.
Some Korean Americans mix their Korean and English while around other Korean Americans.
They might say "omma," "appa," etc. while otherwise speaking English. Ex. "Yo, this is my sachon hyung. He's staying with my halmoni. Ya diggg?"
Some Korean Americans speak almost exclusively in English, or divide their language use pretty thoroughly. These people generally use English terms when speaking English. By habit, they might end up using Korean terms when speaking to relatives directly (even while speaking English) but switch to English terms when talking about them in English to someone else.

There's no real standard greeting. Some people say "hello" or "hi" in English, some people ask about your health, some people make jokes, some people give hugs. When there's a non-Korean guest, they would probably use typical American greetings.
rosehips
Tom and Yer, you are both so helpful. It really means the world to me.

Another question about greetings:
What gestures are used?
So when Daniel comes to the door of his aunt and uncle's house, what gesture would he/they use to great each other? Hug? Shake hands? Bow? Nothing at all?
And is this the same with his mother and father?
And how would they greet Veronica, meeting her for the first time? Shake hands?

What about the cousins and a significant other, who Daniel already knows (the girlfriend of his approx. same age male cousin)?
tom2011
QUOTE (rosehips @ Mar 30 2011, 12:07 PM) *
Tom and Yer, you are both so helpful. It really means the world to me.

Another question about greetings:
What gestures are used?
So when Daniel comes to the door of his aunt and uncle's house, what gesture would he/they use to great each other? Hug? Shake hands? Bow? Nothing at all?
And is this the same with his mother and father?
And how would they greet Veronica, meeting her for the first time? Shake hands?

What about the cousins and a significant other, who Daniel already knows (the girlfriend of his approx. same age male cousin)?


Daniel's a Korean American, I would not give him any gestures. Definitely no hug, first gen Korean American immigrant aunt and uncle will find it very awkward, and even insulted. There's a strict hierachial relationship in Korean families. You do not hug your relatives who are much older than you. Shake hands, a big no no. Shaking hands are only done when you're on business, meeting someone for the first time, etc. You could make Daniel do a bow - not a deep bow, but a short curt bow. In Korea, a bowing and greeting with "annyonghaseyo" is what we expect. But since Daniel is Americanized, he may not be used to bowing. But then again, his parents could have enforced this on him while growing up. This part will be up to you how you want to handle it. But definitely no hand shakes nor hugging with the elders. Hugging is OK with his cousins and his girlfriend. Koreans are not hugging people though. But Korean Americans can be since they're Americanized.

As for Veronica, she is completely different. Because she is considered a "foreigner" (yes, a foreigner in her own country, but it essentially means non-Korean to Koreans), she would be given much cultural leeway. She can make lots of mistake and the Koreans would not find it insulting, because as a non Korean, she would be forgiven for mistakes. The Korean parents, uncles and aunts when they meet Veronica, they will not mind if Veronica hugs them or shakes hands with them, since she is not Korean. I think Daniel's parents, being Korean Americans, would stick their hands out to Veronica to shake hands with her. OR it could be Veronica sticking her hands out and parents accepting her.

In Korea, there would be no shaking hands western style. It would be younger people either bowing to elderly and using a greeting word. Or they may bow while they shake hands with the elderly while using greeting words. But this is the case strictly only in Korea where the characters are not Americanized.
rosehips
Awesome. Thank you!
rosehips
In an unrelated scene, Daniel's uncle scolds him for shopping at a dishonest store. I need a Korean word for "crooks" as in, "It's bad enough you buy from those crooks, but then..."

Thanks again.

ETA: I also need to know what Veronica would call Daniel's parents and Daniel's aunt and uncle. His father and uncle are brothers, so they have the same surname, Seong. So calling them Mr. and Mrs. Seong would get confusing. If that's still the proper way, I'll deal with it, though. Thank you!
tom2011
QUOTE (rosehips @ Mar 31 2011, 08:14 AM) *
In an unrelated scene, Daniel's uncle scolds him for shopping at a dishonest store. I need a Korean word for "crooks" as in, "It's bad enough you buy from those crooks, but then..."

Thanks again.


Plural or singular?

dodooknom (thief), dodooknomder (thieves)

sagikkeun (fraudster), sagikkeunder (fraudsters)


Is he speaking all in Korean? Or is he speaking in English, with the Korean word at the end?
Yer
QUOTE (rosehips @ Mar 30 2011, 05:14 PM) *
In an unrelated scene, Daniel's uncle scolds him for shopping at a dishonest store. I need a Korean word for "crooks" as in, "It's bad enough you buy from those crooks, but then..."

Thanks again.

ETA: I also need to know what Veronica would call Daniel's parents and Daniel's aunt and uncle. His father and uncle are brothers, so they have the same surname, Seong. So calling them Mr. and Mrs. Seong would get confusing. If that's still the proper way, I'll deal with it, though. Thank you!

Some older Koreans let non-Koreans call them by first name. It depends on the person.

"dodooknom (thief), dodooknomder (thieves)

sagikkeun (fraudster), sagikkeunder (fraudsters)"

Maybe not important, but the standard romanized forms are "doduknomdeul" and "sagikkundeul."
Bad people - nappeun nomdeul
Gangsters - kkangpaedeul
rosehips
Thanks again, Tom and Yer. I'll be sending you free copies of the book when it's done (but that's still a few months away)!

Email me at sophia-martin at hotmail dot com so I'll have a place to send the coupon codes to. icon_smile.gif
tom2011
QUOTE (rosehips @ Apr 1 2011, 12:30 PM) *
Thanks again, Tom and Yer. I'll be sending you free copies of the book when it's done (but that's still a few months away)!

Email me at sophia-martin at hotmail dot com so I'll have a place to send the coupon codes to. icon_smile.gif


will do!
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