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Recently I was watching a Chinese-language show from Taiwan, and I was surprised to hear a character insist that another character, whom he thought of as his sister, call him something that sounded like 오빠.

Are 오빠 or other Korean honorifics used in any other relatively nearby countries (such as Taiwan, China, Japan) due to the influence of Korean music and television? Perhaps among young people?

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    I'm not sure that you'll get useful information in Korean SE about usage of a term (even if the term is of Korean origin) in non-Korean languages. Perhaps decide the target language you're looking for (e.g. Chinese or Japanese) and ask on that stack.
    – dROOOze
    Jun 2 '19 at 12:11
  • As far as I know, 오빠 has been used as oppa by English speakers who are fans of Korean celebrities. Currently, a South Korean boy band, BTS, is popular all around the world. As you mentioned, this seems to be due to the cultural influence.
    – Klmo
    Jun 4 '19 at 21:49
  • @Klmo - This was Taiwan though.
    – Obie 2.0
    Jun 4 '19 at 22:58
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At least on the Web (Twitter, Instagram, and Google), these words are used in place of 오빠:

  • oppa (English)
  • オッパ (Japanese)
  • โอปป้า (Thai)
  • 欧巴 (Chinese)

All of them sound almost the same as 오빠. I am quite certain that you heard her saying 欧巴 because 哥哥 (gēge) sounds totally different from 欧巴 (ōubā).

In fact, 오빠 is in the lyrics of Gangnam Style and its video has now over three billion views on YouTube. This suggests that a lot of Internet users around the world know or hear the word, 오빠 as in 오빤.

Not only K-pop music but also K-dramas are popular outside of Korea. Many popular K-dramas deal with a romance between a man and a woman who is younger than him. Thus, it is likely for her to utter the word, 오빠.

Other simple Korean words are also used among fans of Korean celebrities.

형 (兄 in Chinese and Japanese)

  • hyung (English)
  • ฮยอง (Thai)

언니

  • unnie / unni (English)
  • オンニ (Japanese)
  • ออนนี (Thai)
  • 欧尼 (Chinese)

누나

  • noona (English)
  • ヌナ (Japanese)
  • นูนา (Thai)
  • 努纳 (Chinese)
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