Friday, June 5, 2015

The Polite Speech Level

In the previous post, we study about the deferential speech level. In this Post, we are going to study about the polite speech level.

The Polite Speech Level

The polite speech level is the informal counterpart of the deferential speech level. As the most commonly used speech level regardless of age or gender, the polite speech level is broadly used in any situation where polite language is called for. It is used when addressing someone of senior status in a casual, non-formal, and everyday types of conversations; it is used with friends if their friendship began in adulthood; it is the most
common speech level used toward strangers.
The polite speech level endings have two forms: -어요 and -아요. When the last syllable  of the stem has either 아 or 오, -아요 is used. On the other hand, -어요 is used when the last syllable of the stem has any other vowels.

* two forms of the polite speech level
And there are some examples of the polite speech level endings.

* examples of the polite speech level endings
You probably wonder why some verbs or adjectives such as 가다 is not 가아요, but 가요. This is attributed to the vowel contraction in Korean: when similar or the same two vowels appear together, the vowels tend to be contracted.
The endings -어/아요 are used for all sentence types: declarative, imperative,
interrogative, and propositive. For instance, consider the following:


Koreans use contextual elements as well as intonation to figure out what sentence type the ending is used for.

Mixed use of the deferential and polite speech levels

Koreans frequently use the deferential speech level as well as the polite speech level together even in formal conversational settings. One possible scenario is when you meet a person for the first time. The speakers may introduce themselves using the deferential speech level(using the aforementioned fixed expressions). However, once identified, they may switch to the polite speech level. The use of the polite speech level ending generates an effect of making a dialogue sound less formal, even in formal conversational contexts.

* click to read related posts.
Grammar for Beginners
Endings of Sentences
The Deferential Speech Level
Negation (부정문)

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