시댁: Korean husband’s family

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
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.

17 comments

  1. A litttle bit hard to memorize…BTW, some of the words sounds familiar to me since I’m addicted on watching koreanovelas, hehehe…

  2. ate betchay, where did you get/buy your book? I went on a vacay to Korea in Gwangju for 2weeks. My korean is really bad. Gusto ko tlgang matuto..but i think pag vids naman ang gagamitin ko to study, hndi ko maabsorb. hehe. Thanks!

  3. i studied this last year. LOL i forgot it all already! thanks for reminding me… i think its weird since my fiance is the eldest and his brothers and sisters are older than me and they’ll call me 형님!! ㅋㅋㅋ i hope i meet you next year in korea ate betchay ^^ kung papalarin ~~~

  4. hello po..im now here in busan with my fiancee..gusto ko rin mag aral ng korean language thou mejo marunong na ako because i worked here for about 3yrs na..but still gusto ko matuto pa ng hankuk mal..

    meron po ba kayong alam na skul here in busan na pwede akng mag enroll?

  5. my korean boyfriend will visit me soon here in the Philippines,, i call him ja gi ya.. sobrang hirap pag aralan language nila..lalo na kung paano mo ito isusulat.. i hope na matuto agad ako..

    1. Hi Anne! don’t worry matututo ka rin ng Korean… madali lang isulat ang Korean, sanayan lang… ako rin hindi ako matatas magsalita ng korean pero marami akong naiintindihan tsaka may sarili na akong handwriting style ;p

      1. thank you po..katatapos lang po namin magusap now.. he speaks english pro minsan hirap cya iexpress .. he wants me to marry him next year, pero gusto ko pa po matuto mabute about sa language nila.. natatakot din po ako sa pede manyari sakin kapag pumayag ako magpakasal sa kanya.. i love him but ang dami ko pa din po worries,,,ano po ba dapat ko gawin..

    1. libre yan dati, galing sa center… ngayon hindi na free ang mga books at 7,000 won na
      sa kyunghee naman, mas mahal ang book na ginagamit kasi official korean language book nila

  6. Hello Betchay.

    my husband and i (we’re both pinoys) lives here in Seoul. my husband works and i stay at home (i only have dependent visa so i can’t work here). i want to learn Korean language. can you suggest where i can enroll for a free class? we live in yongsan, along haebangchon, near itaewon, in case you know of something near the area.

    thank you so much. your website has been very helpful. 🙂

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