used to be a Sewing Blog – Now KDrama

My use of oppa & Unnie

This entry is a bit weird. I’ve just read a blog that associates nonKoreans using Oppa/Unnie/Hyung etc w/ “yellow fever.” I don’t want to be tagged with that hideous title, so here is a few things on my use of Oppa/Unnie.

Be Warned: This list is in a KaeKae stream of consciousness order:

  • I don’t have a thing for Korean men; I have a thing for Korean dramas, and I find certain actors or singers attractive. Being attracted to someone simply because of their people group/nationality is kinda weird (Ok, a lot weird).
  • I have 3 older sisters and 2 older brothers. I will not refer to them by name online for various reasons. Oppa just takes up a lot fewer characters then “my older brother” and is still respectful
    Side Note: I told my little brother once, “I have 3 unnies, 2 oppas and a damn-dongsaeng.” I don’t think he noticed. 😀 (normally, I say darn, but I couldn’t resist, and I used bad language (I’ve used worse – just trying to break the bad habit))
  • I occasionally call my older brother Oppa and then wait for a reaction – last time it was from my Mom, “Karen, no Korean at the table.”
  • I think English could use Oppa, Unnie, Sunbae type words. There are some ladies I work with that are either unnies or sunbaes, and I actually do find myself thinking of them in that way. I’m pretty good friends with my former boss who has moved up in the world (or the company). She is both an unnie and a sunbae (more sunbae then unnie) to me with the respect that entails, and I think she if she knew the term she would see me as a hoobae. My best friend is older than I am, and I could totally see calling her Unnie. Heck, I had to add her to my FB family as a sister so she could see my ultra private posts. If English had terms like unnie and Sunbae, I wouldn’t have to say “my former boss” or “my friend who is like a sister to me;” I could just say they are my Unnie or Sunbae. Everyone would understand the relationship then.
  • I don’t refer to Korean idols/kdrama stars as oppa for several reasons, not the least of which is that I’m older then them by a lot. Even psy_oppa is really psy_dongsaeng. And the ones who are older than I am, I just don’t have that urge. I don’t see Kim JongKook and want to call him JongKook Oppa; (edit: ok, now I do, a tiny bit) I think I had the feeling once for Lee MinHo (at the end of Faith when he looks so good), but then I remembered he was easily 10 years younger than I. Yeah, that just made me feel old, and wiped away any remaining oppa urges.
  • I don’t have a Korean boyfriend or any boyfriend, but if I did, I can’t imagine calling him Oppa. I’m just too old. If you’re 29 and holding, I think an OPW (which I could never ever do) goes from cute to “ewww gross, cooties.”
  • However, if I did have a Korean boyfriend who wanted me to call him oppa or a Korean friend who wanted me to call her unnie, then I would be happy to because I always like to call people by their preferred name/nickname. But I will not be doing any OPW unless it is in parody or I’ve been abducted by aliens.

Anyway, I thought I had more, but I don’t. So I like Korean relationship terms and plan to continue to use them online to refer to refer to people in my real life and in real life to annoy my siblings simply because my study of Korean sometimes annoys them.


Comments on: "My use of oppa & Unnie" (1)

  1. Yeah, I have to agree, I don’t think of any stars as ‘Oppa’ and I wouldn’t be calling a boyfriend Oppa either. It would be weird. If I had a Korean boyfriend? Well I’d be pleased as punch and would be happy to call him whatever he wanted me to 🙂 I did just logged my brother into my cell phone as dongsaeng. It tickles me whenever I see it come up.

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