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Question On 존댓말

Discussion in '한국어 (Korean)' started by kyrintethron, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. kyrintethron Senior Member

    English - America
    This is probably a very basic question, but I'm attempting to teach myself Korean, and in spite of the wealth of knowledge the Internet offers, I'm struggling to find clarification on a few topics.

    I actually have four-ish questions about the use of politeness levels and honorifics:

    1) I understand that 하십시오체 is used when showing deference to someone in a much greater social status than yours, such as a president or your boss. I've also read that this is used in a business setting, particularly among male coworkers.

    Is this absolutely universal? For instance, is this only used with business acquaintances? or is it used with familiar coworkers as well, such as your buddy in the next cubicle? And what if you're on really friendly terms with your boss? Is it still expected?

    Additionally, does this only apply to the corporate world? or is it expected in all types of businesses, such as the service industry, retail, or even traditionally causal jobs (at least in America), such as construction work?

    And lastly, in this long question, I read that 해요체 is used between female coworkers. Is this universal as well? And what about for male->female coworker speech and female->male coworker speech?

    2) Which politeness level would be appropriate for addressing a teacher? And as above, what if it is one with whom you have become particularly friendly?

    3) Which politeness level is appropriate for addressing police officers and others who are not necessarily socially elevated (at least in America), but respect and deference is still expected because of their power? Surely, one would use 하십시오체 when begging to not be dragged off to jail, but what about in a "casual" circumstance light getting pulled over for a speeding ticket?

    4) Lastly, I learned that the use of the honorific conjugation of verbs is used when the subject of the sentence is someone worthy of respect or deference, such as a teacher, an elder, a boss, or a president. But what if that person is someone that the speaker doesn't hold in high regard, like a teacher or a president they hate?

    My instinct is that they might still use the honorific for the sake of the person/audience that they're talking to, just in case that person still holds the subject in high regard. But what if both the speaker and the listener hate the teacher/president/etc. Would that make a difference?

    I apologize for the longest post ever, but appreciate all your help!

    Thank you!
  2. Hi I'm a native Korean, 22 year-old, female, am studying English education in univ.

    As to grammar, I guess you would understand it too, that nothing is universal and 100% true. It all depends on the context and your speaking habit.

    1) It is true that 하십시오 is often used in very formal setting, or in formal, written Korean. I rarely get to hear someone speaking 하십시오 in my life. However, if the 하십시오체 includes 다,나,까 체, then I would say 다,나,까 language can be easily found in both formal(e.g teacher and students) and casual conversation, especially from male speakers. I feel like 하십시오체 doesn't fit in casual jobs, but if the casual jobs deal with a lot of audience, such as me speaking to a large number of "adult" people to move to a different place, I might use 하십시오체 although I am just a part time worker. If I were a guy, and older than mid 20, I would definitely use 하십시오체.

    As to 해요체(하세요체). most female people would use 해요체 unless the setting is very, very formal and has a big audience. I don't think it is matter of female-female or female-male conversation. I would say, again, most female are more comfortable with 해요체 than 하십시오체. Since guys must use 다나까체(you might learn it as 하십시오체) in military, and military service is mandatory in Korea, majority of guys who finished military service are very comfortable using 다나까체, and sometimes those you just got out of military use 다나까체 in an inappropriate setting such as with friends!

    2) To teacher, 하십시오 is almost never used! I don't know what languages 하십시오체 include, but I can say that "하십시오" as it is would never be used to teacher. A mix of -니다 and -요 sounds most natural to me. For female, I wouldn't say it is any less polite to use just -요 than to mix -요 and -니다.

    Ok while writing this, I just realized that 하십시오체 is not clearly defined. But I can say that all sentences that finish with -요 sound polite enough in any setting. What determines politeness is "세" "시" (the "ㅅ" word)

    For example. 1) 이쪽으로 와. 2)이쪽으로 와요. 3)이쪽으로 오세요. 4)이쪽으로 오십시오. #4 sounds too formal, and very unnatural in casual conversation. I would never use it in my life unless I am speaking to a group with more than 10 people to speak the least. #3 is the best, and would serve anyone, even a large group.(they won't be offended) #2 sounds a little less polite, but if someone who looks older than I am use this language to me, I won't be offended although I would prefer s/he to use #3. #1 should be used with close friends. It is an etiquette not to use #1 to those you know are younger than you without mutual agreement except the listener is teenager...
    it depends on how polite you would want to look like. If you want to look very polite and gentleman-like, you can use 존대말 to even young babies, but people would think you are being funny and gentle. I wish you would understand this! The safe way is to use -하세요체 all the time. That will do, really.

    I heard some fun stories that some Korean learners use 반말 to parents-in-law unintentionally and what usually happens is that the parents-in-law understood logically that their son-in-law is not native Korean speaker but their emotions and feelings will be offended immediately.

    Hope you find this helpful and as my final term will end next weak, ask me any questions and I will be happy to answer them. <:
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013

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