Topic Reading-Vol.3560-1/9/2022

MEL School 三鷹


〒180-0006 東京都武蔵野市中町2-3-5 IIHA武蔵野1階

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Topic Reading-Vol.3560-1/9/2022

英語で世界を知ろう!Topic Reading

2022/01/09 Topic Reading-Vol.3560-1/9/2022

Dear MEL Topic Readers,

Where asking someone’s age isn’t rude

Age, gender, seniority, relationship, intimacy, and social status all matter in Korea when it comes to speaking style, social manners, and eating and drinking etiquette. In fact, there are seven speech levels that can be used to express the level of politeness and formality to the audience in the Korean language. Each has its own set of verb endings. Also, there are six commonly used speech styles, which are usually divided into honorific and non-honorific levels. Speakers are expected to use the proper honorific language when they speak to their seniors or elders. So, in order to find and follow the pecking order and hierarchy between two speakers or proper manners for drinking and eating, it is quite normal to ask the age of the other person, unless the seniority is so obvious. This social custom is rooted in 2500-year-old Confucianism, which was intended to put social order during the time of disorder. But once you are paid respect, you are also responsible to look after the other, like a parent and a child, an elder and younger sibling, and a senior and a junior member within an organization. This is part of their way to view society, which is regarded as an extension of their family. That is one reason Koreans often use “we” for “I”.

Enjoy reading the article and learn why age matters so much in Korea.

MEL School 三鷹
住所 〒180-0006 東京都武蔵野市中町2-3-5 IIHA武蔵野1階