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“Henrik, du kunne vel ikke lige lukke vinduet?”: How to be polite in Denmark and Korea – a comparison

  • Journal of the Scandinavian Society of Korea
  • Abbr : JSSK
  • 2022, (30), pp.177-189
  • Publisher : The Scandinavian Society of Korea
  • Research Area : Social Science > Area Studies > North Europe(Scandinavian)
  • Received : November 7, 2022
  • Accepted : December 16, 2022
  • Published : December 31, 2022

Robert Zola Christensen 1

1한국외국어대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

It is a well-known fact that when we in Korea find elaborate polite conjugations, that structure and determine everyday interaction, the Danes, on the other side of the Globe, have a habit of saying ‘you’ (‘du’) in almost every context. We are dealing with an Asian language ruled by a high level of honorific phrases and a Scandinavian language characterized by its more unpolished and straightforward interaction. However, this article will argue that Danish has a very different, but not less important, way of expressing politeness using other features of the language. The overall dissimilarity is: that where Korean has fixed forms, and a formal protocol ready to use, Danish is more dynamic and adjustable, applying (among other things) discourse particles to zoom in on the suitable level of politeness required in the actual situation. The two ways of using the language, as we shall see, simultaneously reflect the differentiations between the two societies and cultures.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.