What is the difference between informal and formal speaking in the Korean language?
This is very common in Korean culture as in many Asian cultures as well. There is formal and informal way of speaking and the first method is used to speak to adults, strangers (basically someone you just met or are not really close to, someone older than you).
Using formal means that you are not that close or that you respect that person,
while informal usage means that you are close to that person enough so that you can speak freely.
They mean the same but the tone is different.
Informal : 맛있어 (mas-iss-eo) / Formal: 맛있습니다. (mas-issseubnida)
Informal : 엄마 (eomma) / Formal: 어머니 (eomeoni)
Informal : 아버지 ( abeoji ) / Formal: 아빠 (appa)
Informal : 나이 (nai) / Formal: 연세 (yeonse)
Informal : 몇 살이야? (myeochsal-iya) / Formal: 연세가 어떻게 되십니까? (yeonsega eotteohge doesibnikka?
In addition, beware, someone you just met may ask, “몇 살이에요? (How old are you?),” “결혼 했어요? (Are you married?)”, “남자 친구/여자 친구 있어요? (Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?)”, or “어디에 살아요?(Where do you live?),” etc. To foreigners’ ears, some questions may sound private or intimate, but Koreans consider these questions will bring closeness to each other, and they consider these are part of becoming better friends.
To foreigners’ ears, some questions may sound private or intimate, but Koreans consider these questions will bring closeness to each other, and they consider these are part of becoming better friends.
When someone asks, “몇 살이에요? (How old are you?),”
you can answer “저는 25살이에요. (I am 25 years old.)or “저는 80년생이에요. (I was born in 80.)”
Most Koreans will omit the first two digits of their birth years and often just give the last two digits. Ex) I was born in 80 (instead of 1980).
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