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Some Rules for Titles and Pseudo-Titles in Korean and English: A Comparative Study

  • The Sociolinguistic Journal of Korea
  • Abbr : 사회언어학
  • 2008, 16(1), pp.317-340
  • Publisher : The Sociolinguistic Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > Linguistics

Seo-young Chae 1 Isaiah WonHo Yoo 1

1서강대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In English, some occupations are used as titles or address terms, while others are not. For example, doctor is a title and address term, but lawyer and teacher are not. In Korean, however, it is the other way around. This discrepancy among various occupations shows that there exist both linguistic and nonlinguistic conditions which are more than just "status" of the individual or the occupation concerned. According to Bell (1988), it is the absence of the definite article that endorses the descriptive noun phrase to become a title, a process which is achieved by pre-posing the descriptive noun phrase, e.g. linguist Chomsky. In Korean, it is the post-posing of the descriptive noun phrase that achieves the same result, e.g. Gim Jakka (Kim Writer). 105 native speakers of Korean were asked to judge whether or not 30 different occupations sound natural when they are used as titles or address terms. At least three conditioning factors were found to be necessary for higher acceptability: (1) high status of the occupation, including professionality, (2) a discourse context which is high in density in terms of social network, and (3) the occupation name with fewer than three syllables which cannot be abbreviated.

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