Addressing Peers at School: ‘seonbae’ and ‘hubae’

This section is quite easy since we often heard them a lot in korean dramas. In Korea, age is very important in establishing the relationship between speakers. Therefore, when you are at university, you will address people in the years above or below you with special titles.

The title for someone in a year above you is ‘선배 (seonbae)’ and ‘후배 (hubae)’ is used for someone in a lower year level. For example, if you are a 2nd year student, you are the ‘seonbae’ of a 1st year student and ‘hubae’ of a 3rd year student.

If you are not very close to a person in an older year level, you would add the respectful ‘님 (nim)’ to the title, so that they are called ‘seonbae-nim’. However, if you are very close to someone in an older year, you may also one of the kinship terms (hyeong, nuna, eonni, oppa ).

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