If you’re (a bit) into K-pop you may have already heard SHINee’s debutsong Replay, and if you have you may have heard the famous sentence in the refrain “Noona neomu yeppeo”, what means “Noona, you’re pretty”. (If you haven’t heard the song, listen to it. It’s a good song 😉 ) Well you may still not know what “noona”means as well as “oppa”, “hyung” and “unni”. Well they are names you should call people who are older than you, and this is still informal. You have tons of these names to call people, but these are good as a base for now. Plus you hear them often in songs (Like oppa gangnam style; what literally means older guy to a girl in the style of Gangnam, a district in the capital of South-Korea, it’s the richest neigbourhood so he kind of means he’s rich, trendy and wealthy.) or in K-drama’s. So these are a good base for your Korean language skills. This is also part of the culture base, it’s a part of the, with a difficult word, “confucianism”. (I also learned it just recently in history class when talking about the Chinese history ^-^) This means that a big part of their culture is based on respect, to show that respect they call everyone older than them with a special name. But it’s not only about people older than you, if someone has a way higher status than you there are also different respectful names for them, like for your boss. Okay so this is how you use it: if you’re a girl talking to an older guy, you should say oppa. When talking to an older girl it’s unni. If you’re a guy talking to an older guy, it’s hyung. To an older girl is Noona. Now you know the guys of SHINee are talking about a girl that’s older than them.
I hope this helped you and that you understand it now, if you don’t understand it yet you can always send me a mail and I will try to explain it clearer to you and as soon as possible 🙂