HONORIFICS AND POLITENESS IN KOREAN
Won Kyu Lee
Ph.D. Dissertation, 1991
There are various devices to express politeness in language, but it is
agreed that the system of honorific speech style is well-known characteristics
of the Korean language. This dissertation aims at exploring the principles
and factors underlying the phenomena of honorifics and politeness in Korean.
There are four chapters in this thesis: (1) Introduction; (2) Honorifics;
(3) Politeness; (4) Kinship terms in Korean. Following the introduction
in chapter one, chapter two discusses the characteristics of honorific
system in Korean. Three different kinds of honorifics according to the
target of the honorification is recognized: Addressee honorifics, Subject
honorifics, and Object honorifics. It is claimed that the intertwined
relationships among the participants such as speaker-subject-object-addressee
play an important role in the realization of the honorifics. Chapter three
discusses various aspects of politeness in Korean in relation to the use
of honorifics. Several definitions and principles given in the previous
works are surveyed, and then politeness will be viewed from the point
of 'conversational implicature' resulting from the violation of Gricean
Maxims. And the last section illustrates further socio-cultural factors
involved in politeness in Korean. Chapter four is a case study of applying
our proposed rules of honorifics and politeness to the kinship terms in
Korean. After a brief description of the characteristics of Korean kinship
terminology, I suggest that the two major categories--terms of address
and terms of reference--result from the strategies of politeness.
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