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Netizens complain that Koreans' way of using informal language to those younger than you is excessive and offensive

By beansss   Friday, October 6, 2017   45,159   224   263



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Have you seen your favorite idol groups having fun with 'Yaja Time' - when the age hierarchy among group members flip over completely so that the maknaes become the oldest and the oldest become maknaes. With that change, maknaes finally get to drop the formal language to their hyungs/unnies and it gets pretty hilarious. However, this isn't always the case in real-life scenarios.

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Alongside movements among Koreans in modern society today to put a stop to customers abusing their excessive rights to be serviced, higher officials abusing their powers over their underlings in the workplace, and more, it seems another topic of discussion is formal and informal language between age groups.

One female netizen in her thirties took to an online community to complain about her experiences with being talked to informally by complete strangers, simply because they judged that they were older than her.

She confessed that she was often subject to informal speech by customers during her part time jobs in her twenties, and because in her youth, she had a rebellious nature, she would talk back in informal speech in response. But even among her peers, she noticed that when people found her to be comfortable to socialize with, they would drop honorifics right away without asking.

Many people like this particular netizen believe that before dropping honorifics and switching to informal speech between individuals, there should always be a conversation of agreement about the topic.

How do others feel about formal and informal language between older and younger age groups? Many empathized with the particular netizen and said, "Our country seems like the only country where those who are older are automatically placed above those who are younger, and exercise rights to be addressed in formal speech. Even in China and Japan, it doesn't seem as bad... That's why foreigners don't understand why Korean people always ask someone's age first when you first meet... There's nothing positive about this trashy culture", "Just use informal speech with them", "I honestly don't even like it when grandmas and grandpas do it, pretending like they're not used to the world's changes, even though they can use smartphones like pros", etc. 

Others' input stated, "It's not so much the informal speech itself, but the way they say it. You get offended because they're obviously talking to you informally with a derogatory meaning behind it", "You can think of it as they think you're super young and feel good about looking younger than you are; if you approach it negatively there's no end to it""But if it's an elderly grandma, I just wave it off", and more.

Does your country use formal/informal speech, honorifics, and the likes? What do you think about honorifics?

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