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What's an "ajuma"?

 
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leeroy12



Joined: 01 Jul 2003

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2003 2:53 pm    Post subject: What's an "ajuma"? Reply with quote

Just wondering...
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kimcheeking
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2003 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Technically an ajuma is a woman who is married with children.

But personally I believe they are psychotic women who expect to get everything their way and will yell, scream, push, and do whatever it takes to achieve that goal.

Have you ever been on the Subway? Ajuma's are the ones that won't let anyone off of the subway in their rush to get a seat.
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Cedar



Joined: 11 Mar 2003
Location: In front of my computer, again.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2003 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An ajuma is technically a married Korean woman. But it's more like a state of mind. As Korean women age, they stop being pushovers that giggle behind their hands. They put on pounds, especially around the mid section. Never make an ajumma angry. Scary! These women are the true driving force of Korea.
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hellofaniceguy



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Location: On your computer screen!

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2003 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ajuma? Actually ajuma originally was the word Aunt. This goes back centuries ago. You ask most koreans and they don't know this. The ones that do are usually the educated ones and know korean history. But it's in the history books also. Through the years it was changed from one thing to another to what we now know it as: a married woman. Koreans call any woman who looks old "ajuma."
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jvalmer



Joined: 06 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2003 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, Ajuma is 'aunt' and Ajoshi is 'uncle'. However, it is used to describe an adult man or woman (usually married). The two terms can be used alone or can be used in addition to various other terms to describe a distant relative who is of the same generation as a mother/father. Most men don't care if they're called Ajoshi. But most young women cringe at being called Ajuma, they prefer Agashi (young woman).
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ThreeDogNight



Joined: 30 May 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2003 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a run-in with somebody on this board about this. "NO" an Adjumma "doesn't" have to be married. Just reading a book the other night, I found out an Ajumma is "any woman over 35." And it's considered a "compliment" to call them as such.

Am I married? No. Do kids still call me "Ajossi?" Yes.

But typically, an Ajumma is one that has raised her kids and sits in the open markets selling veggies and what not. They're crabby, coarse, rude, dawdy, the uneducated and "the backbone of Korea."

And some of them are looking for husbands "if you're an Ajossi."
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Marathe



Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Location: Spider Hole

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2003 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i've heard it described as the third sex:

there's old men, old women and ajumas.

Their lot in life seems to be washing endless stacks of green shoot vegetables and dragging around carts full of cardboard.
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rapier



Joined: 16 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2003 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ajummas are members of a special Korean army regiment, a "home guard" who will be called into action if North Korea invades. They are assigned protective visors which they often show off.
Their role in wartime is to block the path of enemy tanks and personnel.
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Ody



Joined: 27 Jan 2003
Location: over here

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2003 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kimcheeking wrote:
Technically an ajuma is a woman who is married with children.

But personally I believe they are psychotic women who expect to get everything their way and will yell, scream, push, and do whatever it takes to achieve that goal.

Have you ever been on the Subway? Ajuma's are the ones that won't let anyone off of the subway in their rush to get a seat.


do children not refer to your wife as ajuma? don't tell me she fits the above description? also, this country is not wanting of women in their 20's who won't take no for an answer. Wink

other than the subway part being dead on, i think your definition is, for the most part, a western perception of the word. ajuma means "mother" (or "aunt" as others have stated). we are considered such once we marry and have kids or when we hit our mid thirties, whichever comes first. although cedar's definition is closest to the mark, something of the nurturing essence of the word is still lost.

adults call grandmas ajuma even when they are more accurately halmonis(sp?) because it's polite. these folks surely contribute to the western definition of the pushy character; a definition that ignores the fact that we women in our late 30s, our 40s and early 50's are as varied in our appearance and behavior as are our juniors.

most of us ajumas are physically fit and enjoy wearing stylish clothes. the latest term created to refer to us post-girly, "sub-attractive" women is misses or missy, though i'm not sure which, since i'm not crazy about the sound of either. Confused
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Man of Changwon



Joined: 02 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2003 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the Ajumma topic.
My Korean girlfriend the other day was in a shop about to buy some clothes when the man serving called her an Ajumma. She dropped the clothes and walked out. When I asked her what the problem was and she told me I laughed but this seemed to make her angrier!! She is only 25 and looks great but I thought what was the big deal.... A week later and she is still peeved.
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anae



Joined: 13 May 2003
Location: cowtown

PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2003 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

She should be married by her age! A fruit getting over-ripe. Laughing
Sorry, I couldn't resisit.
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GirlFromMars



Joined: 15 May 2003
Location: Corea do Sul

PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2003 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sometimes it's sexy when a boyfriend says 'yes maam!' to you in just the right voice.

(but i know what you mean)

when i was younger my title was always 'Ms' because it made me feel more grown up, now I insist on 'Miss' because 'Ms' suddenly has all these connotations in my mind and I want to feel young enough to still be called 'Miss'.

Obviously the connotations of the word 'ajumma' affected that girl and the more i read abese ajummas, the more i sympathise with her, who would want to be called one? Still, she better get used to it, she's only going to get older.
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anae



Joined: 13 May 2003
Location: cowtown

PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2003 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as I know, there isn't really a version of a younger ajoshi. Though I would feel very odd calling a younger male (I'm 29) ajoshi. I would probably use hakseng unless it was really apparent he wasn't one. Hopefully in that case, I would know his job title or I really would be stuck with ajoshi.

There are some other terms for women, but it requires that you know something about the person. For instance, the first year(s) I was married, my neighbours called me sae-dek. My sister-in-law who had her first baby was called agi-omma rather than ajuma. Now that she's onto baby three and is in her mid 30's, ajumma is more appropriate. However, people who know her including our sister-in-laws call her Ji Hyun-i-omma from her first born.

People are pretty much stuck with ajumma for me unless they know my hometown and could call me Swift Current-dek, but that sounds a like a mouthful for a Korean. I'm too old and married to be aggashi, and I don't have any kids so people are forced to resort to it. Crying or Very sad
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gang ah jee



Joined: 14 Jan 2003
Location: city of paper

PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2003 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
As far as I know, there isn't really a version of a younger ajoshi.


I'm in my mid-twenties and get called 'haksaeng' (student) occasionally. If I'm dressed well, 'sonsaengnim'. Most commonly people call me 'sonnim' (guest/customer) but that's in shops and restaurants. Only children seem comfortable calling me 'ajossi' though. It does seem like there's a gap in the terms for young men.
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Tancred



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Location: Upon a mountain in unknown Kadath

PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2003 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i don't know why the "ajumma phenomenon" has become such a point of interest. I've never noticed older korean women being unruly or extra-pushy, or for lack of a better phrase, "ajummaesque". I've been here for almost a year and, if anything, i've found them to be the some of the kindest people in this country. I mean, i don't generally brunch with them or anything but they seem okay to me...certainly not bad enough to make all the fuss over.

T.
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