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Study of Exceptional Cases of Addressee-Honorifics in Hangeul Letters of Joseon Period

  • Korean Language & Literature
  • 2014, (91), pp.59-87
  • Publisher : Korean Language & Literature
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature

Lee Raeho 1

1남부대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study examined the appearance of ‘ㅎㄴ이다(hʌnʌida) style’ of ‘ㅎ니(hʌnʌy) style’ that the person of upper rank used to the person of lower rank and the condition and cause for the appearance of such styles using 1,496 hangeul letters from the Joseon Dynasty. The examples of ‘ㅎㄴ이다(hʌnaida) style’ or ‘ㅎ니(hʌnʌy) style’ used by the person of upper rank to the person of lower rank appear in the letters from parents to children, parents-in-law to daughter-in-law, grandparents (-in-law) to granddaughter or grandson’s wife, uncle or aunt to nephew couple, nephew, nephew’s wife, elder sister or elder brother (elder cousin) to younger brother or younger sister (younger cousin), mother-in-law to son-in-law, student’s teacher to student’s wife. While the letter from student’s teacher to student’s wife is a social relationship, the rest is kinship. The addresser’s intention to treat the person of lower rank with respect has an important impact on the addressee-honorifics which contravenes the superior-subordinate relationship. After the kinship between addresser and addressee is confirmed, the intention to respect is determined by the specific situation between the addresser and the addressee. The example of the specific situation is the special relationship between the person of upper rank and the person of lower rank, the family background, public post, and age of the person of lower rank, and social custom. Such factors can act complexly. When the person of upper rank treat the person of lower rank with respect, the level of respect toward the person of lower rank is determined based on the consideration for the person while keeping the dignity as the person of upper rank, and the most suitable level would be ‘ㅎ니(hʌnʌy) style.’ ‘ㅎㄴ이다(hʌnʌida) style’ is used when more emphasis is given to the social relationship even when the addresser and the addressee are in kinship.

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