1

I wonder why some words have or do not have pure Korean version. One explanation I found is that everyday basic usage words have Korean version because they originated long time ago. The more modern a word is, less is the likelyhood of a Korean version.

So, what is the pure Korean version of 동생?

2

There are several terms, all of which are archaic in the standard. There was a fluidity with the terms, just as 동생 is used across both genders nowadays.

  • a younger brother, but also younger sibling in general: 아우 in standard, most commonly seen in translations of the Bible into Korean; 아스 in Hamgyeong; 아시 in Jeju; all are from Middle Korean 아ᅀᆞ [azo; note the archaic hangeul there]. Although Wiktionary currently says 아우 refers to a man's younger brother, I don't see much of a difference in usage; there is some suggestion that it was originally a younger sibling of the same gender.
  • a sister, of either a man or a woman: 누이 in standard, from Middle Korean 누의, although this could refer to an older sister as well as a younger sister originally, it ended up being distinguished by custom from 누나 and 언니 to mean "younger sister".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.