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Chapter 5 describes the four chief domains of linguistic politeness in Korean: speech style, honorifics, terms of address, and gendered language. Based on characteristics of those four areas, the chapter proposes different variables governing when and how to use different components of polite language, in addition to two exceptional subcases of honorifics. The term “politeness” is used in this chapter in a broad sense to denote any linguistic expression that shows respect. Honorifics are a major component of linguistic politeness in this sense, but far from the only one.
Korean has emerged as an important world language both for an expanding constituency of learners and teachers of Korean as a foreign/second language, as well as for scholars and students of general and Korean linguistics. Thousands of heritage schools, elementary, intermediate and high schools, colleges and universities, private institutes and government agencies around the world offer Korean language instruction at a range of levels. The number of institutions offering Korean and, consequently, the number of students learning Korean is constantly on the increase in Australia, Europe, China, Japan, New Zealand, the former Soviet Union, and the United States. An ever-growing number of general and Korean linguists, linguistics students, and language educators are interested in the structure and use of Korean and its universal and typological features from diachronic, synchronic, and dynamic perspectives.
The 'Korean wave' in music and film and Korea's rise to become the twelfth economic power in the world have boosted the world-wide popularity of Korean language study. The linguistic study of Korean, with its rich syntactic and phonological structure, complex writing system, and unique socio-historical context, is now a rapidly growing research area. Contributions from internationally renowned experts on the language provide a state-of-the-art overview of key current research in Korean language and linguistics. Chapters are divided into five thematic areas: phonetics and phonology, morphology and syntax, semantics and pragmatics, sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics, and language pedagogy. The Handbook includes cross-linguistic data to illuminate the features of Korean, and examples in Korean script, making it suitable for advanced students and researchers with or without prior knowledge of Korean linguistics. It is an essential resource for students and researchers wishing to explore the exciting and rapidly moving field of Korean linguistics.