Master of Arts
- Sep 25, 2006
- Reaction score
- Stevenage, Herts, UK
Leaving off the 'nim' is, as I understand it, an indication that you recognize their rank, but don't really respect them.
I think it's possibly even worse - I think it's not just that you don't respect them (i.e. neutral) but in doing so are showing considerable disrespect!
"Sabum" means teacher. "Sambumnim" means respected teacher. Kyosa is (again, a lot of things don't translate directly) essentially 'assistant instructor' with, again, the "nim" suffix being added to indicate respect. "Busabum" (literally 'half a sabum' is also used for an assistant instructor.
Agree with Kyosa/Busabeom, but Sabeom doesn't really mean teacher. Korean uses Seonsaeng (선생) and Seonsaengnim for those (and Ssaem 쌤 informally). I think master is likely a closer approximation, but I guess literally more just certified instructor. Although I haven't studied the etymology of the word (although now I really want to).
That being said, real world usage of these terms varies enormously. I've seen at lease one school that used Sabum for assistant instructor and Sabumnim for the chief instructor.
Let me guess, in America, right? ;-)
Personally, I don't get real bent out of shape if English speakers aren't fluent in Korean. They're making an effort, and if the terms may not be technically correct, they are still being used to show respect.
Absolutely right! Even in Korea where this stuff means so much, if you are trying, they love it - even if you're making a complete hatchet job of the language.
I accidentally spoke in the informal level to a very well world-known respected Grandmaster in Korea, he looked a little strange (perplexed/amused maybe) and I realised I'd done something wrong, then realised what I'd done in not using formal/polite language and started to super-apologise. He just laughed and said in Korean "it's OK, don't worry, keep talking". It was more important to him that I was trying to talk to him in Korean than that I'd just addressed him like a child or a super close friend.