Politeness Strategies in Korean: A reduced Gricean Framework


This paper discusses the possibilities of analyzing politeness strategies in Korean through a reduction of the Gricean implicatures in terms of Horns (1984) Q and R-principles. Rules of politeness in Korean are suggested to be as follows:


  1. Be less informative
  2. Avoid Pronouns
  3. Be humble
  4. Be friendly


AS regards to 1, the scalar implicature, which is typical of Q-Inference behaves like R-Inference in a polite context in Korean. Speakers tend to be less informative in order to be polite. This clearly clashes with Grices maxim of Quantity i. In addition, one uses future tense for politeness.


In polite situations, a reflexive pronoun ?Icaki is less preferable than repeating the antecedent NP. I reinterpret this in terms of Reinharts (1983) pragmatic?choice approach to bound anaphora. I suggest that a polite context provides the NP as the pragmatic?choice of the anaphora.


In relation to 3 above the speaker performs a Face Threatening Act which is followed up by a redressal by both the speaker and the hearer in order to preserve a positive face. In Gricean terms, this is a clear case of violation of the Maxim of Quality.


A speaker may be considered unfriendly, egotistic or presumptuous if s/he uses my NP?instead of our NP?especially when s/he speaks of his/her friends or acquaintances. The use of we?is a positive politeness situation where the speaker gives the impression that everything is equally shared between various members of the group.


Back to  list