Since these are the underlying guidelines for just about every thing you say in Korean, except you’ll simply follow formal language endlessly, it would be best to finally know the opposite particular person’s age. (And naturally, age distinction impacts many different points of two folks’s relationship, however let’s simply give attention to linguistic components right here.)
In Korean tradition, two completely different age techniques are used. One is the “regular” age calculation, measuring precisely “how outdated” you’re, in years/months/days. And within the different technique, you simply rely what number of completely different years you’ve skilled in your life. So on this system, for those who have been born in 1998, you’re in “12 months no. 1” of your life, and the subsequent 12 months, you’re in “12 months no. 2” of your life, so you’re 2. This method was applied in lots of nations all over the world a very long time in the past, however now Korea is understood to be the one place the place it’s nonetheless actively used. So in Korean age, everyone ages on the identical time on January 1st of yearly, as a result of the 12 months quantity has modified.
When kids develop up and finally attain faculty age, it’s often “12 months no. 8” of their life, so in Korean age, 8살. And that is the place issues get difficult and on the identical time, very fascinating. In precept, everyone ought to be 8 years outdated (in Korean age) as a result of all of them stay in the identical timeline and no one is time touring. However till a few decade in the past, the Korean faculty system allowed mother and father to enroll their kids in elementary faculty one 12 months earlier if the kid was born in January or February, as a result of the Korean faculty 12 months begins in March. One attainable rationalization for that is that the kid mortality price was a lot greater and birthdate registrations weren’t all the time correct within the 50s and 60s, so this type of flexibility was extra extensively accepted. However now, with very correct delivery data, it has turn out to be pointless, so this type of early faculty admission system based mostly on delivery months was eliminated in 2008.
Nonetheless, folks of their 20s, 30s and older all began elementary faculty earlier than 2008, so everyone remembers going to high school with a number of classmates that have been really youthful than them in Korean age. And the individuals who entered faculty earlier due to their early birthdays are known as 빠른년생 (lit. = early 12 months born). So for instance, somebody born in January of 1994 was in a position to attend elementary faculty with everybody else within the class being born in 1993, and everyone within the class (whatever the delivery 12 months) talked to one another in informal language (반말).
All of that’s okay and easy… till you graduate after which begin working. Utilizing 반말 to people who find themselves “technically” a 12 months older than you was okay and allowed while you have been at school, however solely since you have been all classmates with no social hierarchy. This continues all the best way as much as faculty.
So what occurs?
So what a humorous but quite common state of affairs that may occur is, you begin working at a company and also you introduce your self to different folks. The subject of how outdated you’re will naturally come up and those that are the identical age will (with mutual settlement) discuss to one another in 반말 when they’re in personal settings.
As a real-life instance, our very personal TTMIK lecturers 승완 and 예지 have been born in the identical 12 months, which makes them the identical age, however 승완 was born in February and due to this fact entered faculty one 12 months earlier than 예지 did, who was born in December. So although 승완 and 예지 have been born in the identical 12 months and might discuss to one another in 반말 privately, all of 승완’s “same-age” associates are one 12 months older than 예지’s same-age associates. So think about 승완 and 예지 every bringing one buddy from faculty and hanging out collectively. There may be positively some dialogue available about who can discuss to whom in informal language as soon as they get to know each other higher, in addition to what titles to make use of (오빠? 언니? Or their private identify + 씨?) to deal with folks.
There isn’t a telling precisely till when this “Korean” technique of counting one’s age will proceed for use, however whereas it’s in use, there’ll all the time be some preliminary, doubtlessly enjoyable confusion and dialogue about methods to handle one another.
Thanks very a lot for studying and see you subsequent time!
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