https://www.duolingo.com/Catsy_Brave

Unless you are friends, don't use 반말 to speak casually to other Korean learners

Hi guys, just addressing something I run into all the time. No one said there's anything wrong with learning from other people who are learning. If someone is more advanced than you, then you can discuss the same roadblocks you may have now that they had earlier in their studies.

However, if you want to use Korean, you should use it the way that Koreans use it to each other: Don't greet strangers on the internet/in clubs in banmal (반말). 반말 is casual language, and is reserved for friends or people much younger than you.

  1. Look at how Koreans make posts online. When they speak to themselves, the sentences end with 다 as in Diary form.

  2. When they address other people, the sentences end in 요 or 입니다/습니다. This is because they don't know who they are talking to. Their audience could be anyone. Older, younger, BUT they're all strangers! This is in videos as well. Korean Unnie, TTMIK, everyone does it.

  3. The ㅇ you see on the end of words is just for cuteness.

So you may learn Korean from songs, dramas, etc. but that doesn't tell you about the details of how people are speaking to each other. On top of that there are other patterns in speech that are used when you are speaking about people in respected positions. You can find a multitude of resources describing Korean formality levels.

Here are some from a quick google search:

  1. http://atkmagazine.com/2013/08/02/polite-vs-informal-and-deferential-style/ (don't ever use 당신 to strangers)

  2. http://www.koreanwikiproject.com/wiki/index.php?title=아/어/여_%2B_요 "Not adding a 요 is very informal and called 반말, which should only be used with friends, people that are younger than you, and people who are in a lower position than you. This is, however, dependent on the situation, and so may not always be true."

  3. https://www.reddit.com/r/Korean/comments/fiozq/what_do_hamnida_sumunida_ibnikka_imnida_etc_mean/

I honestly find it frustrating when people I don't know speak in casual language to me. Even if English does not have a respectful form, you still cannot speak casually to someone you don't know, so I encourage you to please use the appropriate language to speak to someone in Korean.

Best of luck in your studies.

July 10, 2018

21 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/georgiamrobinson

감사합니다

July 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Fiona186142

this is actually pretty helpful to me considering im just starting out, please note i might come back for more tips

July 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Mkim91

As a Korean person, personally its kind of interesting to see how much of a difference the English language is compared to Korean. Its so fascinating how different countries have developed such diverse and different cultures and languages as well as a unique history.

July 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/nleconte

Fully agree.

This also shows that learning someone's language is a window into understanding his culture. Language carries so much more than just a means of conversation, it provides a flavour into the cultural undertones that explain one's behaviour or thoughts.

Yet, grasping the basics just to converse is already a pretty impressive feat. Building on that to fully grasp all the nuances is a welcome addition, but may take one's lifetime to achieve.

We're all here for different reasons and all those reasons are valid reasons to learn the language at the level of proficiency we aim for.

(sorry to hijack your comment to steer off-topic like this^^).

July 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ann_BTSxNCT

that's helpful thank you!

July 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/English_peasant3

I agree with wintertriangles most of us on here are probably beginner native english speakers. Korean is ranked as being one of the most difficult languages to learn for the english native! So we are all struggling through learning bit by bit. The last thing we need to be told is that our formality speech/knowledge isnt good enough or on par with that of a native speaker.!

July 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Catsy_Brave

Not at a single point did I say anyone wasn't good enough.

July 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Seth_Hong

Nice article.

July 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/wintertriangles

Ending sentences in 요 is not formal speaking. It's the formal version of 반말. 존댓말 also has formal and informal versions. There's nothing wrong with pointing out the trends of how people talk to each other but you seem to take this too seriously when Koreans are happy that anyone would want to learn their language at all, let alone organize all 4 formality levels. That's why people teach sentences with 요 because it's easy and not impolite, but it's certainly not formal speech. "Don't ever do this!" doesn't come across well, you should work on your charisma. And for the record, 당신 isn't recommended because Koreans never say it, only foreigners who are used to pronouns use it, it's not rude, it's just unnatural.

July 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LiKenun

And for the record, 당신 isn't recommended because Koreans never say it, only foreigners who are used to pronouns use it, it's not rude, it's just unnatural.

I shudder at that official Memrise course… they use 당신 throughout.

July 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Catsy_Brave

It is called Formal Impolite and is generally taught as acceptable to strangers.

I'm not here to work on "charisma", I'm not taking anything seriously. I'm addressing something I run across constantly. I don't want people to get into trouble because they used something in the wrong situation.

As for 당신, I read a story about a person using that to address their boss. They got in trouble but were forgiven because they were so unfamiliar with why they shouldn't use it. I simply recommend that people use the person's name and position instead or just title.

July 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/xMira_

"I'm not here to work on "charisma", I'm not taking anything seriously. I'm addressing something I run across constantly. I don't want people to get into trouble because they used something in the wrong situation."

It can be helpful, though, to find a way to put things that makes people want to listen to you, and not feel like they're being told off by their mom. I'm positively sure your intentions are good, but still.

EDIT: I'm also not saying your style is bad. You're very good at putting out information, you just do seem a little "strict mom" like. :)

July 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Catsy_Brave

It's someone's choice to listen to something regardless of how it's said. Even if said nicely someone can go: "Well, I'm not ready to speak Korean. I also don't want to speak to native English speakers, they can't teach me Korean." (read; clubs) We all have different communication styles, and you can choose how you want to read something, "strict mum" or otherwise. Personally, i want to speak to other capable language learners, and you know--absolute beginners are only gonna use phrases - those are in formal Korean, it's the people who are more familiar with Korean who can introduce themselves and form sentences who continually use casual Korean.

July 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/xMira_

You've had two people to actively comment on your post giving you constructive criticism, and 7 people agree , you might want to just take it and leave :)

Like obviously you do you, but, arguing with me doesn't help

July 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/nleconte

According to dongsa.net, the -요 form is called declarative present informal high.

July 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Catsy_Brave

This lesson also describes situations in which to use casual language anyway:

https://secure-hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/6/6/b/66b366e373ac9165/ttmik-l3l27.pdf?c_id=2691945&cs_id=2691945&expiration=1531303265&hwt=14b3a5224580d600eab29885d549d1ae

Here are some common cases in which you SHOULD NOT use 반말

  1. You know the other person only through work, and not personally.

  2. You are older than the other person but he or she is your business client or customer.

  3. You are older than the other person but you are talking to the person in an official environment such as seminars, lessons, etc.

  4. You don’t know the other person. You just met him/her.

  5. You are younger than the other person. You never got permission from him/her that you can use 반말 to him/ her.

  6. You are the same age as the other person. But you are both adults now and you don’t know him/her that well.

  7. You are older than the other person but he or she is your boss or the spouse of your older sibling.

  8. You are talking to a large group of people or in a video blog.

Regardless of how I said it, the message is still expressed the same way.

July 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Catsy_Brave

It was simplified to me as Formal Impolite (or informal polite).

July 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/GeorgineFaust

“...when Koreans are happy that anyone would want to learn their language at all...”

This message implies Koreans would be fine with the barest effort from non-native speakers. If you aren’t friends with the person...it’s cute at first- then it’s tiresome. Respecting the culture of the language is part of learning the language. I feel like many people actually agree and know this but simply dislike the OP’s way of saying it lol.

August 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/minminMaRSHmaLLo

Thank you for writing this! I know a lot of people got butthurt for this, and I honestly don't know why. Thank you for helping me understand!

July 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/GeorgineFaust

It’s kind of common to dislike being told what to do- in the case of unsolicited advice(despite its truth) from a stranger at least. It’s obvious you’re only giving a heads up about being mindful:/ Respecting the culture of the language is a part of language learning, Everybody.

August 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Okawoa

I hear 당신 used in adverts. It is really old fashioned and is flattery tho.

October 27, 2018
Learn Korean in just 5 minutes a day. For free.