Korean Honorifics and Politeness in Second Language Learning

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This book investigates the ways that advanced speakers of Korean as a second language perceive, use and learn the complexities of the Korean honorifics system. Despite their advanced proficiency in Korean, the study shows that the honorifics use of these speakers diverges in crucial ways from native speaker norms. It is argued that, rather than reflecting the language competence of these speakers as such, this usage is linked to questions of the identity of “language learners” and “foreigners” in Korean society. In addition, it shows the influence of conflicting ideologies regarding the “meaning” of “politeness”. This argument is backed up by rich data collected through mixed methods (discourse completion tests, role-plays, natural interactions, introspective interviews), allowing for a detailed picture of how the honorifics use of second language speakers emerges in context. The book concludes by discussing the implications of the study for politeness research, interlanguage pragmatics and language pedagogy.

Subjects: Pragmatics; Linguistics of isolated languages; Language acquisition

  • Affiliations: 1: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

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