시댁: Korean husband’s family

Written by on April 11, 2012 in Lifestyle, Worldwide Korea Bloggers

* This post is written by Ana Park, one of the Korea Blog’s Worldwide Korea Bloggers.

I will have a test this afternoon for a Korean language class. It’s a level test covering speaking, reading and writing. I hope to be in the intermediate class since it would be a shame if they put me back in the basic class. I am cramming with the Korean language book I used four years ago when I attended a free Korean class for about four months.

Korean husband’s family

If you are non-Korean and your husband is Korean, one of the things that you should learn is how to call the members of your husband’s family. In the Philippines, we usually call our elder brothers “Kuya” and our elder sisters “Ate”. In the United States, parents-in-law are called by their first names. In Korea, that’s totally improper!

Your Korean husband’s family is called “시댁” (shi-daek). Your family is called “친정” (chin-jeong). How you call the people in your husband’s family and how you refer to them are different.

Here’s a short summary:

Your husband’s grandfather
- call him 할아버님 “ha-ra-beo-nim”
- refer to him as 시할아버지 “shi ha-ra-beo-ji”

Your husband’s grandmother
- call her 할머님 “hal-meo-nim”
- refer to her as 시할머니 “shi hal-meo-ni”

Your husband’s father
- call him 아버님 “a-beo-nim”
- refer to him as 시아버지 “shi a-beo-ji”

Your husband’s mother
- call her 어머님 “eo-mo-nim”
- refer to her as 시어머니 “shi eo-mo-ni”

Your husband’s older brother
- call him 아주버님 “a-ju-beo-nim”
- refer to him as 시아주버니 “shi a-ju-beo-ni”

Your husband’s older brother’s wife
- call her 형님 “hyeong-nim”
- refer to her as 동서 “dong-seo”

Your husband’s older sister
- call her 형님 “hyeong-nim”
- refer to her as 시누이 “shi noo-i”

Your husband’s older sister’s husband
- call him 아주버님 or 서방님 “seo-bang-nim”
- refer to him as 시매부 “shi mae-bu”

Your husband’s younger sister
- call her 아가씨 “a-ga-shi”
- refer to her as 시누이 “shi noo-i”

Your husband’s younger sister’s husband
- call him 서방님 “seo-bang-nim”
- refer to him as 시매부 “shi mae-bu”

Your husband’s younger brother
- call him 도려님 “do-ryeo-nim” if he’s not married
- call him 서방님 “seo-bang-nim” if he’s married

Your husband’s younger brother’s wife
- call her 동서 “dong-seo”
- refer to her as 동서 “dong-seo”

If there are more older brothers or sisters, append 큰 “keun” before the term to the eldest one; while the second eldest is 둘째 “dul-jjae” while the third is 셋째 “set-jje”. For example, I call my husband’s first brother as “큰 아주버님” (keun a-ju-beo-nim) while his second brother is “작은 아주버님” (ja-geun a-ju-beo-nim) or 둘째 아주버님.

In my husband’s family, I’m the youngest 며느리 (myeo-neu-ri) or daughter-in-law. My two 시아주버니 call me as 제수씨 (je-su-shi) when I’m the only sister-in-law present. But when everyone is present, they would all call me as 막내 which means “youngest” (Romanization is “mak-ne” but pronounced as “mang-ne”). Both my 시아버니 and 시어머니 call me that.

My husband’s sister and I were born on the same year, but she is several months older than me. Even so, she still calls me “언니” (eon-ni) because my position in the family is higher than hers.

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The Worldwide Korea Bloggers (WKB) is a gathering of people from different parts of the world, all having affection for Korea. Currently, there are 50 bloggers from 17 different countries and they share their own precious experiences with Korea and its culture on Korea Blog.