“Normative” and “Strategic” Honorifics Use in Interactions Involving Speakers of Korean as a Second Language

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This paper uses a corpus of 14 hours of recorded interactions to analyze the “normative” and “strategic” honorifics usage of speakers of Korean as a second language. I define “normative” honorifics as usage that reflects recognized “power”, “distance” and “formality” factors. “Strategic” honorifics usage breaks from these norms, is pragmatically “marked” and is motivated by interactional goals. Previous studies into the honorifics usage of speakers of Korean as a second language focus on analysis of “errors” judged against prescriptive norms. However, the current paper adopts an interactional socio-pragmatic perspective and looks at the ideology and specific intentions that underlie second language usage. According to my data, in comparison with native interaction, second language speaker discourse displays less variation according to normative factors but may show more marked strategic alterations. Regarding normative usage, speakers prefer to establish equal relationships and minimize “power” differences. As for strategic use, speakers may alternate honorific levels according to the sensitivity of the situation or the illocutionary force of particular utterances. I explain these differences with reference to conflicting ideologies as to language usage between Korean and “Western” cultures, prevalent during the interview process. I conclude the paper by discussing the implications for Korean applied linguistics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-270
Number of pages2
JournalArchiv Orientalni: quarterly journal of African and Asian studies
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

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