How do characters address each other in the Joseon period drama Dong Yi?

The ways the characters address each other depends on their rank, age, and gender. I mentioned some of the following in the entry on social classes in the Joseon period but have added more here. Though only some of these terms are used in contemporary society I think it’s interesting to be able to recognize them when watching Dong yi since the terms will  crop up again and again in other historical dramas.

*These terms are still occasionally used in contemporary Korean society.

English

hangul

romanization

hanja

Your Majesty

전하

Jon-ha

殿下

Used by the King’s subjects when they address him. (except the Queen Mother)



Your Majesty

주상

Chu-sang

主上

Used mainly by the Queen Mother to address the King.



Your Majesty

대비마마

Te-bi-ma-ma

大妃媽媽

Used to address the Queen Mother.  


Your Majesty

중전마마

Jung-jon-ma-ma

中殿媽媽

Used to address the queen by the subjects. The King and the Queen Mother call her jung-jon.


Your Highness

마마()

Ma-ma-(nim)

媽媽()

Used to address ladies in high positions.


My Lord

대감

De-gam

大監

Used to address very high level yangban officials.


Sir

영감*

Yong-gam

令監

Used to address yangban. Sometimes still used in contemporary society to address judges or prosecutors.


Sir

나으리

Na-u-ri

No hanja

Used to address men in higher rank than the speaker


Ma-am

마님

Ma-nim

Used to address ladies in higher rank than the speaker. Female equivalent of na-u-ri.


Sir

어르신*

O-ru-shin

No hanja

Used to address old men (related to age not rank) and is sometimes used today instead of the term haraboji. 할아버지


Fellow/chap

놈*

nom

No hanja

Used to address low class people. As in hey you! = i-nom! Still sometimes used today.


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4 Comments

Filed under Dong Yi

4 responses to “How do characters address each other in the Joseon period drama Dong Yi?

  1. Tai

    Ah, thank you so much. Sometimes you can even read about the cultural times, yet with no further explanation your left to the imagination.
    I am still trying to nail down Sang Gung or Gam? Since it is used with both sexes M&F, I know it is a title like Commander, least that is my thought?
    You and your web are like a rock, a good place. Thank you

  2. Thanks for all your positive comments!
    Yes, there are so many different titles for all the people in the palace, it is confusing. I think you mean Sang-gung 상궁 尙宮 which is the title of the highest of the court ladies but below the concubines.

    Sang-gam상감 上監 is only used to address the king and then it is used with ma-ma = sang-gam ma-ma. 상감마마.

  3. Maya Gotis

    Hi, I’m from the Philippines and I’ve been watching Dong-Yi online. It was introduced to me by a friend. She came across Dong-yi in the internet by accident, then got hooked eventually. I personally like this drama and I super super like the romantic scenes of King Sukjong and Dong-yi. However, since this is a historical drama, are there really historical bases regargding Choi Dong-yi’s relationship with the King? I’ve been googling her and thus far I haven’t been so lucky in finding a site, which would give me more factual information about here. I’m just curious about the character I’m watching. thank you

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