S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 12 Number 1/2 (1976)
現代國語의 客體尊待 問題 : A Stundy on the Object-honorificatiorn of Modern Korean
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.12 No.1, pp. 55-71
- The honorific system of Korean is very complicated. Not only according to time but
also to social levels it shows many different shapes. So to give a clear description of the system is not easy. The honorificatiDn described here is no exception.
Here 1 review a kind of Korean honorification usually called 'object-honorification'. By object-honorification' we mean an honorifcation which can be expressed by limited verbs like cwu -(give) , turi-(give) , mosi -(escort) , j;}C'u -(tell) , etc. The object here includes sentence elements which have object or dative case. All of these verbs are transitive verhs.
So they have to have an object.
Many persons think the verbs themselves are honorific words. However 1 think
they are not honorific words hut modest words. Of course, we can say that the use of modest words results in giving respect to someone.
There rnust be at least four persons in expressing the so-called object-honorification: the speaker, the hearer, the actor of the modest verb and the object. I think the performative theory is very desirable to show the structure of the Korean honorific system, especially, of the one concerned here. The structure of the honorifics we need is generally something like NP1 +NP2+ [NP3+ NP4 + VP1]s+ VP2.
The verb concerned is VPl. Here we reach the most difficult questions, which 1 tried to solve: 、Nho expresses himself modestly? Whom does he want to respect by doing so?
I think the answer to the first question is the speaker, and the answer to the second is the object. But the speaker can not express his respect to the object directly, because the actor of the modest action (VP1) is not the speaker but the subject of the verb.
Therefore, the speaker has to express himself indirectly. To express. his respect to the object, the speaker makes the actor of VP1 express himself modestly to the object. The speaker uses the modest verb not because of the interrelation between the subject and the object but the interrelation between the object and the speaker himself.