Speech levels/honorifics


New Member
Hello everyone,
I really need your help. I spent a couple of days or may be three searching about korean level speech but without any progress to get what I'm looking for. That's really will drive me crazy. However I already know there's differences between talking to older people and younger ones. I just wanna know what is the most formal level speech and the less formal one between 조댓말, 높임말, 공대말, 예사말, 반말 and 낮춤말.
while searching I saw people said 조댓말 = 높임말 and 반말 = 낮춤말 but I don't even know why they are the same T_T. So If you don't mind people, please teach me the end form of verbs with each one and with whom I can exactly use them. and please rearrange them for me depends on the most and the less formal level speech.
thank you.
Last edited:
  • Rance

    Senior Member

    • 아주 높임 - 합쇼체
    • 예사 높임 - 하오체

    • 두루 높임 - 해요체
    (No honorific)

    • 예사 낮춤 - 하게체
    • 아주 낮춤 - 해라체

    • 두루 낮춤 - 해체

    I made a chart so you can visualize easier.
    The order of honorific goes from high to low.

    존댓말, 높임말, 공대말 are synonyms, hence they mean the same. ;)
    반말 and 낮춤말 are synonyms.
    에사말 refers to two groups :예사 높임 and 예사 낮춤.
    -체 refers to end of forms of the verb.
    For example, 해라체 of 공부하다 is 공부해라 and 해라체 of 자다 is 자라.
    Note that modern form of 합쇼체 is now 하십시오 and not 합쇼.
    < Previous | Next >