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The use of 우리 from the horse's mouth

I happened upon this in a culture book I'm skimming for permanent residence. It answers questions people here have about saying 우리 for so many situations.

한국 사람들은 자신의 가족을 다른 사람에게 이야기할 때 ‘우리’라는 표현을 사용한다. ‘우리 애들’, ‘우리 엄마’, ‘우리 아빠’, ‘우리 남편’ 등에서 ‘우리’는 ‘나’를 대신하는 것으로 ‘나와 당신’을 합한 표현이기에 외국 사람들에게는 아주 이상한 표현으로 보일 수 있다.

When Koreans speak of their family to other people, the expression "우리" is used. 'Our children', 'our mom', 'our dad', 'our husband' etc. Instead of saying 'my' the expression 'my and your' is combined to make 'our', which is very strange for foreigners to see.

그러나 이 표현에는 나와 이야기를 나누는 당신은 나의 가족이라는 의미가 담겨 있고, 그만큼 당신을 가깝게 생각한다는 의미가 들어 있다. 또한 한국에서는 가족 대신에 ‘식구’라는 표현도 사용한다. 식구라는 표현은 같이 한상에서 밥을 ‘먹는 사이’라는 뜻이다. 그래서 한국 사람들은 누군가와 일을 하거나 이야기를 할 경우에 “언제 한번 밥 먹자”라고 하는데, 이는 가족처럼 친밀하게 지내고 싶다는 표현이기도 하다.

However, included in this expression is the meaning that, when speaking with me, your family is my family, to the extent that I mean that I am that close to you. Also, the expression 식구 rather than family is used in Korea. 식구 means someone you share a meal with at your table. Thus, in the case where Koreans that work together or have a conversation say "Let's have a meal sometime" that expresses an interest in becoming closer with that person like family.

December 6, 2017



고맙다. 잘 올렸어. 훌륭해!


Is that permanent residence book related to the Korean Integration and Immigration Program (KIIP)?


I did level 3 last week, if you happen to take this one too some day in the future, check out my review :)


That speaking portion seems nightmarish...I too would love a partner who makes me look better! I'm taking a test in January. I just took a mock level 3 test last week and got almost everything right. Level 4 though, I have seen maybe 15% of the grammar.


Thanks for posting this, wintertriangles! :) Further to your post, I happened to stumble across this article while I was browsing online the other day: http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20171217-why-south-koreans-rarely-use-the-word-me

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