Korean Relational Word Forms

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Something I’m appreciating about the Korean language, right now: words formally have different forms depending on the proximity of your relationship to the person to whom you are speaking. When the sense of a relationship is shifting – friendly to estrangement or acquaintance to familiar, for instance – switching which way you say “I’m sorry” or “thank you” can be an indicator, without any need for exposition or change in body language. It can be subtle or dramatic.

As I write about characters whose relationships morph, I’m wishing we had that. Trying to find subtle indicators which might not be so noticeable to people outside the relationship is a challenge.

I will figure it out. I’m noticing that I have a little language envy, at the moment. 😉


from FB post 12/3/16

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