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A contrastive study of language use to refer to own spouse in Korean and Japanese

  • 日本硏究
  • 2017, (44), pp.207-223
  • DOI : 10.20404/jscau.2017.02.44.207
  • Publisher : The Center for Japanese Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Japanese Language and Literature
  • Received : December 31, 2016
  • Accepted : February 1, 2017
  • Published : February 20, 2017

Hong, Min-Pyo 1

1계명대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study explores the use of address terms, reference terms and verbal phrases between members of a couple in Korean and Japanese with special focus on the gender difference. It has been found that these terms and verbal phrases are used unevenly between the members when they talk directly with their spouses or with the third person, and that this unevenness is more strongly and diversely observed in Korean couples than in Japanese couples. In particular, a wife refers to her husband as her superior by using such terms as ‘Kwajangnim ‘Section manager’’ or ‘Hyengnim ‘Big brother’’, and the frequency rate of such terms appeared to be more than 30%. These trends are deemed to be caused by the difference in the honorific system between the two languages, i.e. conditional honorification in Korean vs. unconditional honorification in Japanese, and the traditional man-centred family system in both cultures. However, it is expected that the unequal use of such terms between couple will be gradually decreased as the nuclear family system is further expanded, the low birth rate continues, women’s participation in economic activities further increases and the gender equality is more widely recognised.

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