Korean names : how to be polite when we talk to someone in Korea

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Rachel Kang한국어 (Korean)
2016년 12월 9일
2026
1분
Hello, I am native Korean, and I would like to cover this topic "Name - How to call a person in Korean."

Korean names usually consists of 3 syllables. One for family name and Two for first name.(Some have 2 ~4 syllables for their name.) Some have their first name only in Korean, but most of them use Chinese character. For family name, 김 is most common name, and those who have 조, 최, 강 as their family name are famous for their strong will , being stubborn, and persistence.

We call people by name when we are young, but when we get older, it is rare to be called with our own names.
Koreans think "manner and politeness" is very important.

In school, we don't call teacher's name like Mr.Kim or Ms. Park. We call teacher 선생님. 선생 means teacher. But just call 선생 is very rude in Korean manner. We put 님 at the end of position.

In companies, we call our boss as their position+ 님 such as 부장님(department leader),사장님(company leader). If there are many 부장님 in company, then we put their family name in front of 직책 like 김부장님, 이부장님.

At home, married women call their father in law as 아버님(아버지+님), mother in law as 어머님(어머니+님).

If you don't know someone and don't know his or her job, then you may say ~~씨. In this case, family name +씨 is rude(김씨X), you should use their first name+씨(유리씨 O), if they are not too old for you to say "~ 씨 ".

Many Korean learners make these mistakes because they don't know Korean culture. I hope all Korean learners learn polite and practical language. See you next article!

한국어 (Korean) Tutor Rachel
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한국어 (Korean)
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대한민국
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70
한국어 (Korean)
원어민
,
영어 (English)
B2
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스페인어 (Spanish)
A2
Graduated from KNOU, majored English Literature. Majoring Korean and Korean Culture in WDU. Taught English to teenagers for 6 years in Private Institute(Language schools), Public school, students' home. Taught Korean to Chinese and Japanese in Gwangyang Cultural Center. Taught Korean to English, South Africans, Filipinas, Americans as a private tutor. Teaching English to children of multicultural family at Multicultural family support center. Teaching Korean to American and South african as a private teacher.
Flag
한국어 (Korean)
globe
대한민국
time
70
한국어 (Korean)
원어민
,
영어 (English)
B2
,
스페인어 (Spanish)
A2
Graduated from KNOU, majored English Literature. Majoring Korean and Korean Culture in WDU. Taught English to teenagers for 6 years in Private Institute(Language schools), Public school, students' home. Taught Korean to Chinese and Japanese in Gwangyang Cultural Center. Taught Korean to English, South Africans, Filipinas, Americans as a private tutor. Teaching English to children of multicultural family at Multicultural family support center. Teaching Korean to American and South african as a private teacher.

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