Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Korean Terms of Address and Social Cognition

Korean Terms of Address and Social Cognition

Victoria Phillips

In Korean culture, the use of first names and pronouns in both terms of address and reference is very limited and heavily restricted. Korean culture places a focus on family names and titles. Korean society has a sort of macro to micro-orientation -the family, group, and country are placed before the individual. This order corresponds to the order of constituents in terms of address. The order is as follows: (Last Name) (First Name) (Stem Title) (Affixal Title). This order correlates to the general holistic or global cognitive styles within Korean culture. The Korean address system contains a hierarchy of titles, first and last names, pronouns, teknonymy (the custom of referring to parents by the names of their children), and borrowed titles from English. In the Korean language, the scales of address forms do not reflect the degree of solidarity but rather power, especially concerning age. This paper aims to explore the cultural conceptualizations and pragmatic considerations behind the use of address terms in Korean. The data presented in this paper is collected from a popular Korean YouTube channel Cherry and Dong, with a focus on and examination of the use of kinship terms. In social interactions, the use of kinship terms indexes both an age stratification and the individual’s relative position in society. These terms of address define the relationship between the addressor and addressee. It is suggested that address terms encode cultural categories (such as kinship) and are constructed from Korean cultural conceptualizations.

April 20, 2022 - Posted by | abstract

1 Comment »

  1. I had no idea that Korean culture looked at names in such a way. Does this have any ties to religion or mythology within the country? Is it considered disrespectful of foreigners not to participate in similar naming patterns?

    Comment by Casey Carter | April 28, 2022 | Reply

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