(Family and kin) "Our uncle", her husband
|Doing some writing about how the social status (stratum, class, whatever) affects the terms of address and reference, especially the latter. The people that I'm writing about would in English-language terms be called lower middle class, or self-entrepreneurial stratum; in Korean colloquial terms they are usually "ordinary people" (sômin), or changsahanûn saram (business-keeping people) in terms of occupation. And this shows nicely in the manner women refer to their husbands. At first I was baffled when a restaurant-keeping woman told that an ajôssi (literally "uncle", mostly in a non-kinship meaning) was occasionally helping her in running the place. Ajôssi - must be some family friend I thought before I realized that this "uncle" meant her husband. "Husband" (namp'yôn) was actually used quite rarely, and only by certain people; this one who used namp'yôn instead of ajôssi was one who thought of herself different from the rest of the neighborhood, not in terms of wealth but background and views on society.|
Checked "Korean Kinship Terminology" [Han'guk ch'injok yongô] by Ch'oe Chae-sôk, which is a very detailed work with lists and tables of every (well, almost) conceivable kinship term there is. It lists 20 terms of reference for one's husband (sanae, namp'yôn, sillang, sôbang, yônggam etc) but not ajôssi. How come? Most likely because it's not "proper" language use, not fitting with the ideas of "language manners" (ônô yejôl). In more well-off surroundings with better middle class credits one wouldn't hear this term that much. It obvious that there's tendency to use ajôssi when the husband is treated as an ajôssi elsewhere, not having an uncontested status of a "teacher" or a "company president" (sajang) etc.
(Term of address: used when calling someone directly; term of reference: used when talking about someone)
Categories at del.icio.us/hunjang: Koreanculture ∙ Koreanlanguage