[Ask Hyojin] Family Names in Korea

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이름이 뭐예요? What’s your name?

When you introduce yourself and your name, do you say your family name first or given name first? In this episode of Ask Hyojin, Hyojin is joined by Hyunwoo to talk about family names in Korea. Learn how family names in Korea work, what kind of family names are most common, etc. with 안효진 선생님 (Hyojin An) and 선현우 선생님 (Hyunwoo Sun)!  🙂

If you have any questions that you’d like Hyojin to answer in the next episode, leave them in the comment below! You can also browse through and watch all the episodes of Ask Hyojin here!

Korean Numbers (from Basic Counting to Calculations)

In any language and culture, numbers are an essential part of everyday life, but when you are learning a new language, learning numbers can be a bit of a challenge because the names of the numbers and related terms may be drastically different. You may also have to look at numbers and equations in a slightly different way than you are used. The only way to make this process easier is to actively practice using numbers in the language you are learning. Luckily, the function of numbers and the operations in which you can use them are universal, making the concept of numbers the same in every language!

[Ask Hyojin] How do Korean parents pick names for their children?
Whether your follow your dad’s family name or your mom’s family name, it’s not usually something you or your parents can change or choose. Your given name, on the other hand, can be anything. In many cases it’s the parents who pick a name for their baby. But in Korea, sometimes someone else than a baby’s parents pick a name for the baby. It can be their grandparents or it even can be a complete stranger. Watch this Ask Hyojin video lesson and learn how Korean parents pick names for their children and who else usually pick a name for a baby 🙂 [Ask Hyojin] How do Korean parents pick names for their children?.

[Ask Hyojin] Family Names in Korea
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  • Loonkina Julie

    My name is Yooliya or Julie in English.

    I’m from Russia and we put our last names in front of our first names, too. But if we need to fill in any form or document we also add our father’s name (for both girls and boys). My full name is Loonkina (surname) Yooliya (first name) Valeryevna (farther’s name, kind of : ) It turns out a little bit long, so it is used in formal written speech only. And we use first name in combination with farther’s name to address to older people and to someone whom we respect. And we have plenty of pet names and nicknames as well ^^

    But I have a question. I know that friends can add -ah or -ya after frineds name to adress to the person. Like 준아, 여나야, for example. So how can people adress to me, if my name is 율랴? Won’t it sound strange?

  • lorenzo

    hi guys,

    thank you for this interesting video!

    as you guys mentioned in the video the issue of noble family names in korea, i would like to know more about that. for instance, in italy, where i come from, even though it turned to republic in 1946, and theoretically noble families do not have any legally recognized special status, most of these families are still very (very) rich. they still hold an important place in the italian jet society, particularly in finance, industrial businesses and so on. moreover, most of them still own those which were their original properties, like very beautiful and old villas throughout the country. the only family which was subjected to expropriation was in fact the royal one.

    then what about korea? do these families still hold any particular position in korean society? do they still own historically relevant estates and properties? are they anyhow ‘recognizable’ in the society?

    please let me know if i could find these information anywhere!

    thank you very much for your nice work on korean language and culture!



  • panda

    5,250 man won what’s that’s mean? it’s mean 15,250??

  • Hey, guys!
    I’ve watched the video you’ve made and as I understood, the family club name is what really matters in terms of saying “oh, we’re related”, right? So the interesting thing about is that in Poland, the family club names are used as our last names, but also some last names weren’t followed by any of the family club names, they were just created.

    • Seokjin Jin

      Oh, that’s interesting. 🙂 Could people make their own last name without any reason?

    • Well, I guess no one can forbid you to call yourself “Penis” if you want (and this last name really exists; or may it was the Internet joke), however people usually change their last names only because of marriage. I think they change names more often. Like my name’s Jakub, but my short name is Kuba, then I could change it in my ID to Kuba and no one can call me Jakub, because this is not my name. ;D

  • Zachary

    Oh, wait! Doesn’t this mean that Hyunwoo is distantly (or not so distantly) related to Kyung-hwa?

    • Seokjin Jin

      Yes. They are distantly related. 🙂

  • Andrea

    I have a question for Hyojin. In English, we sign our names using cursive. Is there a special writing style that Korean’s use to sign their name?

  • Julia

    I have watched all 3 topics about Korean names, it’s really interesting to know that you can create a family name on your own even when you are a native born Korean with a history of ancestor.

    I am writing to ask that, I am just curious to know that if you, most Korean, know your names in 한자 (Chinese characters) or not? As a single 한글 character related to a lot of variation of 한자 which they have very different meanings. For example, 지 can be “志 ( strong desire)” or “智 (wisdom)”, therefore a different 한자 will affect the initial meaning of the name. Does Korean care about this fact? 🙂

  • Kam

    what about generational names? I thought they had Family name, Generation or Personal name, then Generation or Personal name?