• Created by: dani0965
  • Created on: 18-10-17 22:00

Speech Levels

There are seven speech levels in Korean

Each level is not be mistaken with the “honorifics” and has its own set of verb endings, used to indicate the level of formality of a situation. From highest level to lowest that would be: Hasoseo-che(Traditionally used when addressing a king, queen, or high official; now used only in historical dramas and religious text), Hapsyo-che(generally called either the "formal" or the "formal polite."), Haeyo-che(called the "polite" style in English), Hao-che(called the "semi-formal," "middle," "formal lateral," or "authoritarian" style in English.), Hage-che(called the "familiar."), Haera-che(generally called the "plain" style) and Hae-che(called the "intimate" in English)

In addition, each Korean speech level can be combined with honorific or non-honorific noun and verb forms.Taken together, there are 14 possible combinations. But fear not, nowadays only 3 forms are mainly used, and when you take classes, you only learn to use Hapsyo-che (hamnida (합니다) form) and Haeyo-che (haeyo (해요) form)

The middle levels are used when there is some conflict or uncertainty about the social status of one or both participants in a conversation. The hage-che and hao-che are being replaced by or merging with haeyo-che.

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Speech Levels - Hasoseo-che

Traditionally used when addressing a king, queen, or high official; now used only in historical dramas and religious text such as the Bible, the Koran, Buddhist scriptures, etc.

Formality           very high  

Politeness         high

Present                     Honorific Present            1st Person          2nd Person

hanaida                         hasinaida                         jeo                  a title, e.g.
(하시나이다)                      (저)              imgeum (임금)

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Speech Levels - Hasipsio-che

This conversational style is generally called either the "formal" or the "formal polite." This is a common style of speaking. A conversation with a stranger will generally start out in this style and gradually fade into more and more frequent haeyo-che. It is used

  • between strangers at the start of a conversation
  • among colleagues in more formal settings
  • by TV announcers
  • to customers
  • in certain fixed expressions like 만나서 반갑습니다 "Pleased to meet you"

Formality             high

Politeness           high

Present           Honorific Present         1st Person                     2nd Person

hamnida             hasimnida                     jeo                    a title, e.g. seonsaengnim
(하십니다)                    (저)                                (선생님)

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Speech Levels - Haeyo-che

It is remarkable in that it is used both with higher level pronouns (namely, titles) as well as the middle level second person pronoun dangsin. It is used mainly:

  • In Korean phrasebooks for foreigners.
  • Between strangers, especially those older or of equal age.
  • Between colleagues
  • By younger speakers as a less old-fashioned alternative to the hao-che.
  • By men and women in Seoul as a less formal alternative to the hasipsio-che.

Formality             low

Politeness           high

Present            Honorific Present             1st Person                  2nd Person

haeyo                  haseyo                              jeo                            dangsin
(해요)            (하세요) (common),                (저)                              당신
                           hasyeoyo                                                    a title, e.g. seonsaengnim

                       (하셔요) (rare)                                                        (선생님)

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Speech Levels - Hao-che

 It was originally a refined, poetic style that people resorted to in ambiguous social situations, but, due to its over-use by authority figures during Korea's period of dictatorship, it became associated with power and bureaucracy and gained a negative connotation. Consequently, the generation of Koreans who came of age after democratization conspicuously avoid using it. However,haoche is becoming more popular among college-age Koreans. It is used occasionally among the older generation, by civil servants, police officers, middle management, middle-aged people, and other people of intermediate social rank who have temporary authority over what would normally be considered their superiors

Formality          high

Politeness        neutral

Present         Honorific Present      1st Person       2nd Person

hao                      hasyo                    na                     dangsin
(하오)                (하쇼),                     (나)                     (당신)

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Speech Levels- Hage-che

It is intermediate in politeness betweenhaeyo-che andhae-che. It is not used to address children, and is never used to address blood relatives. It is used only:

  • By some older people when addressing younger people or especially in-laws in a friendly manner.
  • Between adult male friends, occasionally.
  • In novels

Formality                neutral

Politeness             neutral

Present            Honorific Present                 1st Person                 2nd Person

hane                        hasine                                   na                             jane
(하네)                    (하시네)                                (나)                            (자네)

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Speech Levels - Haera-che

In writing and quoting, the plain style is the equivalent of the third person. It is used:

  • To close friends or relatives of similar age, and by adults to children.
  • In impersonal writing (books, newspapers, and magazines) and indirect quotations ("She said that...").
  • In grammar books, to give examples.
  • In some exclamations.

Formality           high

Politenes          slow

Present            Honorific Present            1st Person            2nd Person

handa                   hasinda                        na                         neo
(한다)                   (하신다)                            (나)                      (너 )

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Speech Levels - Hae-che

It is a defective paradigm, meaning it lacks most of the expected conjugational forms. It is used

  • Between close friends and relatives.
  • When talking to children.

Formality             low

Politeness           low

Non-Honorific Present         Honorific Present        1st Person       2nd Person

hae ()                                 hasyeo(하셔)              na (나)                neo(너)
 (in speech),                   
hayeo (하여)           
(in writing) 

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