2020 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Yookyung Lee


Language and communication are representative of native speaker’s cultures. Use of language for communication is largely contextual, following socio-cultural norms and linguistic rules. A notable communicative feature of Korean is its well-developed honorific patterns. Western languages, e.g. English, lack power distinctions while Korean sentences shouldn't be formed without speaker knowledge of their social relationship to the addressee in terms of age, social status, kinship, and subgroups. Complex social stratifications between speaker-addressee and speaker-third person referents are encoded within the linguistic structure of Korean.

Korean honorifics involve two dimensions: addressee-honorifics and reference-honorifics. Addressee-honorifics express the speaker’s regard for the addressee, reference-honorifics reflect the speaker’s regard for a referent.

In Elementary Korean II, students learn that a predicate’s form is dependent upon relationships, the most common reference-honorific forms are introduced, and expanding patterns of speaker-addressee honorifics are practiced. Learning multi-dimensional honorific patterns builds Korean language skills and understanding of Korean culture dynamics.

This presentation will include; (1) an overview of Korean’s main features, emphasising honorific patterns; (2) how students in Elementary Korean II employ honorific patterns in their writings to introduce themselves, relations, and acquaintances, and (3) students’ reflections displaying understanding of Korean honorific patterns and social dynamics.