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  5. "이분의 성함은 어떻게 되세요?"

"이분의 성함은 어떻게 되세요?"

Translation:What is this gentleman's name?

September 18, 2017



Could you say 'this person' in place of 'this lady'?


You'd think so, as 분 is not gendered, but since it happens to be the formal version of person, the English equivalent is lady or gentleman.

You'll hear 분 every time you go to a restaurant. 몇 분이세요? - How many people are there?

The confusing part is you can't answer with 분, because you're talking about yourself! 두 명이에요. - There are two people.


I would love to see your reference... 분 means person. Here is a dictionary: http://endic.naver.com/krenEntry.nhn?sLn=en&entryId=f4687e3816e74df09a8a029cb8f234c0&query=%EB%B6%84

신사 and 신부 mean 'gentleman' and 'lady' respectively. FUN FACT ALTERT: 신부 also means (catholic) priest.

분 is more respectful than 사람. The usage is situational, and culturally, some people "always" deserve respect like an old lady or the president of a company.

If you use the word 사람 instead of 분, it means you believe that person doesn't demand respect in the current situation. If you work with someone you grew up with, but they are in a higher position than you, you would use each word situationally. In front of work colleagues or at the office, 분, and in front of childhood friends or over a beer, 사람 or maybe even 애.


Uh huh..nothing you said disagrees with my comment, so I don't know why you're trying to teach me something.

If you mean that I wasn't hyper specific about using 신사 and 신부, that's because it's quite rare to hear them and considering this is a beginner course, why would I ever mention them?


I typed "What is this person's name?" It was correct. :)


just leaving my humble onion that gentleman/lady as 분 it's a bit of an awkward localization and "person" should be an accepted input. Gentleman is not as natural in english as 분 is in korean, and person is not necessarily an "impolite" word, as much as house, sleep or eat.

not that serious i'm just annoyed i got set back by this like three times lmao


Hi, Joe! Who is this person? (Rude)

Turning to other person, i say "Let me introduce myself. I am Lara.


Can someone elaborate on the use of 되세요?


• Formality verb ending: -세요, please.

세요 is a variation of 셔요 (시다, propositive mode, casual & polite form). It is officially recognized and standardised in 1985.

• 이다 vs 되다

이다 - be (equivalent/equal to)

되다 is an impersonal verb (one with no determinate subject which appears usually in the gear of "It" or "There").

되다 has many meanings. But in this particular example, 되다 = It is to be.

되다 is slightly different to 이다 in that it shows the naming as a process. 이다 states the fact.


이 분의 성함은 어떻게 되세요?

= Lit. "As to this (gentle)person's good name, what may it be?"

= What is this person's good name?


I thought to use "gentleman," but then it seemed it might be a lady, so went (acceptably) with "person" instead.


good choice; this site can be a bit picky at times.


Should use: 'gentleperson' if wish to stress "분" being the honorific form of "사람" (person).

Of course there are specific words for gentleman and lady as shown in the expression: 신사 숙녀 여러분 ~ ladies and gentlemen

신사- gentleman

숙녀- lady


I think "this person (or other genderless words)" is better than "this gentleman" in the translation sentence. Because it's sexism, and we could think about this issue more deeply as someone who learns language(s). ;)


Is "what is this person's name" also be an accurate translation (honorific form)? How would you say "what is this woman's name" in honorific form?


I typed, "What is this person's name?" It is correct.


So we have 3 honorifics in this sentence:

분 instead of 명 성함 instead of 이름 되세 instead of 있어



(1) "분" is the honorific of person (noun), 사람 and person (counter), 명.

(2) 성함, honorific of 이름 - name or full name. (Note: 성 = family name/surname; 함 = title i.e. what you may be identified with as an individual; hence, your occupation; first name; nickname etc.)

(3) 되시다, honorific of 되다. In this instance, its equivalent meaning in English is "may it be", polite copula "may"

(3) Honorific, polite speech.

성함이 어떻게 되세요 (/*되셔요)? = What may your 'good' name be? [-> How may I call you?]

*되셔요 still in use in North Korea.

Casual, polite speech.

이름이 어떻게 돼요? = 이름이 뭐에요?* = What's your name? [-> How should I call you?]

*이름이 뭐에요?, more commonly used expression.


분 instead of 사람. Actually 되다 is not honorific. It means "to become." It is used frequently in polite mood.


How will you know if they're talking about a lady or a gentleman


only by context. My friend took me to a pharmacy my first year in Korea and talked to the pharmacist about me by saying, "이분이...." I am a woman. Our friend could have used the same word to talk about my husband.


Why is 어떻게 used here? Does the sentence literally mean "how does it become" which also means "what is it"?


It is a set polite expression. It comes from the pattern:

Verb-게 되다 = end up + Verb-ing

어떻다 = (be) in what state? = being what?

어떻게 되다 = end up being what?

어떻게 됐다 = It ended up being what? => what would it be?

어떻게 되세요? = It ends up being what? => what may it be?

So: 이분의 성함은 어떻게 되세요?

= Speaking of this person's good name, what may it be?

= What may this person's good name be?

• Less formal expressions

이 사람의 이름이 어떻게 돼요? or

이 사람의 이름이 뭐에요?


I think that's about right. "How does his name turn out (like, if someone were to say it)?"


Why isnt ileum used for name?


Cause that's informal. The one word used here for "name" is formal.


Why is this "gentleman", when 분 is genderless


Its not exactly genderless, it would be more like either gender. "Lady" or "gentleman" would both be appropriate translations.


Person would still be a better choice, even if it is not the equivalent politeness level in English


You could suggest

이분의 성함은 어떻게 되세요? = what may this person's good name be?

The expression "good name" indicates the person is of high standing.

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