The Korean Writing SystemSyllablesNounsPredicatesFormal and Informal SpeechPre-Final and Final EndingsSpeech LevelAdding ㅓ or ㅏ to a predicate stemAdding 으 to predicates stemsThe Deferential Speech LevelThe Intimate Speech LevelThe Polite Speech LevelThe Plain Speech LevelIrregular PredicatesThe Subject Particle 가 and 이The object particle 를 and 을The Topic Particle 는 and 은Forming a Sentence이다 and 아니다있다 and 없다NegationPast TensePredicates as ModifiersDeterminersBound NounsDesireNumbersCountersQuestionsThe Particle 에

Speech Level

Korean sentences exists in one of many speech levels which are used to express the social relationship between the speaker and the listener. The speech level is determined by a sentence ending. We introduce 4 different speech levels which are widely used in modern Korean language.

The Deferential Speech level

Korean Name
The deferential speech level is the highest of the commonly used speech levels in Korean langauge. This speech level is used in highly formal situations, fixed formal expressions, public annnouncements or in social situations in which high deference is communicated to the listener.

The Polite Speech level

Korean Name
The polite speech level is the most common speech level used to communicate between strangers.

The Intimate Speech Level

Korean Name
The intimate speech level is often used between close friends or when the speaker is speaking to children. When neither of these two cases are true, this speech level may be used to belittle or disrespect the listener.

The Plain Speech Level

Korean Name
The plain speech level is used in specific cases.
• In journal, book or magazine writing
• Indirect quotations
• Instructional writing
• Exclamations
previousnext