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Title:Social variation and change in honorific usage among Korean adults in an urban setting
Author(s):Mun, Mae-Ran Park
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Cunningham, Clark E.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Language, General
Abstract:The present study examined social variation and change in honorific usage in Korean among 158 subjects in Pusan, Korea. The main goal of the study was to delineate the relative importance of social variables governing the choice of speech levels and kinship terms in personal interaction, and to discover possible similarities or differences across sex, age, and socioeconomic class. To standardize data collection a questionnaire was used, which asked respondents to rank factors influencing their choice of speech levels and to report their use of kin terms. While the subjects constituted a convenience sample, ages by design ranged primarily from the 20s through the 50s (with a concentration of speakers in their 20s and 30s). The socioeconomic class distribution by working class (23%) versus middle class (77%) was skewed toward the middle class.
Analysis of the respondents' self-reported usage made it possible to rank the social variables in their order of importance as factors affecting choice of speech levels and the show similarities and differences by sex and across class. Among kin, factors determining choice of speech levels were: kinship generation, age difference, and consanguinity, in that order. Among non-kin, factors were social status, age difference, familiarity, formality, and seniority, in that order. Some differences were found across class in factors determining choice of speech levels in non-kin communication, but no significant class difference was found for the effect of factors influencing speech levels in communication among kin.
The self-reported usage of address and reference terms in the Pusan area was found to be almost identical in many respects to that found a decade earlier by Suh (1979) in the Seoul area. Such differences as exist point to greater conservatism in the Pusan area. In both areas, men appear to be more conservative than women, with the latter perhaps reflecting the leveling effects of contemporary social change. Contrary to expectations, the self-report data showed few significant differences between social classes in honorific usage.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Mun, Mae-Ran Park
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9136680
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9136680

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