Forum Rocket Korean Korean Culture and Travel Korean Tutor : You have to be Polite!!!!

Korean Tutor : You have to be Polite!!!!



Hello guys,

Today, I want to talk about some misconception that foreigners have about Korean culture. 

I actually ran into someone today who is learning Korean, and I shared few words with her in Korean, and this problem came up. 

AGE is quite a big deal in Korea, and I absolutely agree. However, it is not a major factor when you are unfamiliar with the person that well. Even if you met someone several times, and you know their age, you should not use informal tone if you are not close to them. 

For example, Let's say I have a car dealer that I use whenever I buy a car (and for argument sake, I call him about once every few months). I know him quite well, and I know he is younger than me. However, that does not give me any right to be complete comfortable with him when I speaking to him. If I use impolite tone with him because he is younger than me, it would make me a very impolite person. 
Any kind of business or formal transactions work like this, (unless the person is tooooooo old, or tooooo young, you do not use impolite tone despite their age). In this kind of relationship, both parties would use 요 phrases to be polite and respectable.

However, in in formal meeting, being comfortable and talking impolite can happen fast, but you would still ask them if you can speak comfortably. 

Foreigners learning korean often use impolite term once they figure out the person they are talking to is younger than them, and most likely no one points finger at them for it because people understand they are foreigner and learning Korean. 

However, one has to be very careful (especially in formal meetings) when deciding to talk freely and comfortably with the person. It is a very important manner in conversation.

Please let me know if anyone has further question about this topic.


this is important for me to know when i visit, thank you!

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