Korean honorifics

Korean Honorifics

Korean Name
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Korean honorifics

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The Korean language reflects the important observance of a speaker or writer's relationships with both the subject of the sentence and the audience. Korean grammar uses an extensive system of honorifics to reflect the speaker's relationship to the subject of the sentence and speech levels to reflect the speaker's relationship to the audience. Originally, the honorifics expressed the differences in social status between speakers. In contemporary Korean culture, honorifics are used to differentiate between formal and informal speech based on the level of familiarity between the speaker and the listener.

Common Honorifics


Ssi (Hangul: 씨, Hanja: ) is the most commonly used honorific used amongst people of approximately equal speech level. It is attached at the end of the full name,such as Kimcheolsu-ssi (김철수씨) or simply after the first name, Cheolsu-ssi (철수씨) if you are more familiar with someone. Appending -ssi to the surname, for instance Kim-ssi (김씨), can be quite rude, as it indicates the speaker considers himself to be of a higher social status than the person referred to. Ssi is derived from the Chinese character 氏, meaning surname and has its equivalent (and cognate) in the Japanese 氏(し;shi), pronounced 'shi' or 'uji'.What makes this suffix so interesting is its contemporary usage compared to its usage in previous generations. Previously, higher-ranked individuals used -ssi to address individuals of lower ranks; recently however, -ssi...
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