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Use of Language in Japan and Korea

Every language has its own way of solving certain social issues that arise whenever people come together in a social setting, and the people of Japan and Korea can serve as examples of how different languages address these concerns. The use of honorifics is a social convention that can have a number of purposes ranging from identifying family relationships and marital status to showing that the speaker is adhering to the conventions of polite society. The system a society develops for handling honorifics says much about the society, the relationships valued by that society, and the expectations placed by that society on individual members. Many of the subtleties differentiating various Asian societies are lost on the Western observer, but there are very real linguistic and social distinctions to be noted between the languages of Japan and Korea respectively, as an examination of the issue will show.

The honorific system in Japan is a reflection of a number of attitudes and traditions infusing Japanese culture. In recent years, the Western world has tried to learn more and more about Japan because of the importance of the Japanese economy to the rest of the world, and much of what Western observers have to say about Japanese people and their customs is couched in business terms as a consequence. Yet, another reason for this is the fact that the Japanese have shaped their culture, especially since World War II, in business terms to promote a structured and growth-oriented economic sector. The ethic of the Japanese system is to be found in Confucianism. Japanese Confucianism has several distinct themes: 1) the human being regarded with respect and dignity; 2) the values of harmony; 3) righteousness and the acts of righteous individuals in a framework of loyalty; and 4) the morally superior person who leads by example and is devoted to the other Confucian values. Many observable Japanese managerial practices can be reduced to t...

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Use of Language in Japan and Korea. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:51, August 14, 2020, from