Korean language and culture series: Age, part 2

Part 2 of the Korean culture series on Age (click here if you missed Part 1) will explore people who were born in the same year, BUT where difference of age comes down to months or minutes.

Depending on the nature of the relationship, however, this is not strictly observed. It rather depends on the individual(s).

So for example, your two bloggers were born in the same year, but we were born 10 months apart. But I would never call Bluesy “unni” since her pedophilic tendencies make her much younger than her years. [Blue: And I repeat! None of them are minors! They’re all legal, I swear!] In general, cohorts born in the same year observe no hierarchy, and are just simply grouped as same-age friends.

This practice of observing hierarchy is more prevalent amongst siblings in the same household. For example, in You’re Beautiful, Go Mi Nyu (played by Park Shin Hye) called her twin brother, Go Mi Nam, “oppa” even though they were born mere minutes apart.


Sometimes, idol groups try to determine the “leader” based on who was the earliest born, as in the case of one of Bella’s favorite nostalgic groups from back in the day, Shinhwa, or Bella’s former flavor of the month group from last year, SS501. If memory serves, 4 members of Shinhwa were all born in the same year, but since Eric was born in February (the earliest of the four oldest members), he was designated the leader of the group.

Bluesy has an early birthday, whereas I have a late birthday. But according to the Korean age system, I am already considered 1 years old at birth, and as soon as the new lunar year passes, I become 2 years old along with the rest of the babies born in the same year, including those like Bluesy who had been born months before me. The good thing is that elders often empathize with the plight of those born with latter birthdays who just got tacked on 2 bloody years to our age.

So there you have it folks. Hopefully this cleared up most of the confusion for everyone out there.  If you have any questions/comments, feel free to post away…

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7 Responses to Korean language and culture series: Age, part 2

  1. blue says:

    So sorry, but I edited out the 올레기 part in your last paragraph and just retained the english definitions. I’m almost positive that the spelling is incorrect, but despite spending a bloody hour on Naver and Daum, I couldn’t figure out what is the correct spelling.

    OT, but my gosh, I formed this new habit of saying “bloody” all the time and I blame it all on you!

    • Bella says:

      Let me check, I could have sworn it was right but I am just getting used to the bloody keyboard thingy on the iphone thing so I could be wrong.

      ehh- what can I say, I’m just THAT influential! =D

  2. dramaok says:

    Heeheee you girls are obsessed about age. it’s so Korean! ^^
    And yes Bella is very influential. She be queen.

    • Bella says:

      Finally Mic speaks the truth!!
      You probably know the answer tell me you have heard of “올레기” expression when referencing someone born in jan or feb? Maybe i am hanging with the old folks too much?

  3. dramaok says:

    sorry i’ve never heard it either. just 빠른년생 or 빠른생일 for Jan and Feb births, but i think it’s very possible that there are other sayings for it. and since Jan and Feb births usually up their school year, maybe it’s got something to do with that.

  4. Julie says:

    very informative!
    thank you so much.

  5. skdreaming says:

    OMG! Your posts are so entertaining! “The good thing is that elders often empathize with the plight of those born with latter birthdays who just got tacked on 2 bloody years to our age.” That made me laugh. Your writing craft is really good lol.

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