Loanwords - Borrowing words from another language


There's a threat that often permeates Twitter in regards to BTS/ARMY! Non-Koreans, don't you dare use the word, Noona 누나. And most often, it's not done in a polite way, leaving us feeling like we've committed some sort of mortal sin! Oh no! The majority of the admonishing has been from young girls feeling threatened by outsiders. So what does this word mean?

누나 or Noona is a word showing deference from a younger male to an older sister or friend. It is a sign of respect. The Korean language is filled with honorifics, and age plays a big part. However, I'm not here to give a dissertation on the Korean language, but to discuss how words are constantly being "borrowed" from one language to another. For more information on the use of Noona in Korean honorifics, please refer to this article (one of many on the subject). 

Noona has become the standardized way of referring to older (older than BTS members) non-Korean women who are BTS fans or ARMY! In fact, you will often hear, "Hey Noonas, we gonna stick together", or "There are millions of Noonas all over the world!" Let's just say, it's a badge of honor, and a way to tell the world, ARMY is not just made up of very young screaming girls. We are older women who adore BTS and come from all walks of life. Some of us are married with children or grandchildren. Some are doctors, nurses, secretaries, construction workers, teachers... you get the drift. 

It would appear that Noona might become one of the many words throughout the course of history that are incorporated into another language - in this case, English. These are correctly referred to as Loanwords which are adopted by the speakers of one language from a different language (the source language). Read more about that below:

So the next time you are "put in your place" on Twitter, you will have a bit of knowledge about the subject, and can nicely and proudly defend your use of the word. 

Noonas of the world, stand tall! 


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