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Korean Language: When do i need to use formal language?

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When do i need to use formal language? One of the most difficult things when learning Korean is understanding what degree of formality is appropriate for each occasion. Because Korean culture is based on hierarchical relationships between people, some understanding of this part of Korean culture is essential to learning to speak the language as well. The format of formal language will be learn in Emagasia through our Learn Korean Lessons.

When do i need to use formal language?

Korean culture

When do i need to use formal language?

So when do you use formal language? If you were to get dresssed up and go in front of an audience to make a speech in Korean, or to get in front of the camera to give the news, you would use formal language ( 스 ) ㅂ니다 without hesitation. Formal language excludes the feeling of intimacy, and though it feels somewhat stiff, formal language is considered appropriate for formal occasions.

On the other hand, the honorific ( 으 ) 세요 is used to establish a more relaxed atmosphere. With people you meet every day and with whom you feel you have a close relationship, such as your co-workers, you may use the honorific. However, there must be a mutual familiarity. People working in service industries – such as salespeople at department stores or agents at an airport – usually use formal language ( 스 ) ㅂ니다, although if they wish to come across in a more friendly way, they might use the honorific ( 으 ) 세요.

As it is with clothes, language should suit the occasion. So when you are thinking about approaching someone, decide whether you should use formal language ( 스 ) ㅂ니다 or the honorific ( 으 ) 세요 before speaking.

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