L1: Cultural tip

This lesson’s cultural tip will be on showing respect and how to act to people different age or status than you

If you are very well in touch with the k-culture (whether through dramas, music, etc) you’ll know that koreans put much attention into expressing respect to others in terms of their speech, bowing and also many other things.

We’ll discuss the form of polite speech and honorific form later in the lesson.

Basically, respect is shown especially to someone who’s older than you (even if its by two years or so) and also to someone who is higher rank (in your job etc).  Of course this applies too for a person whom you first meet or not that close to yet.

The thing that koreans does most is – bowing. The lower you bow, the more respect you’re showing to the person. 

credit yeni7 for the tips on bowing: 

ok-Rye(light) 15 degree
to your colleagues
to your manager or boss
in a small place like elevator
greetings during conversations

Botong-Rye(standard) 30 degree
for general greeting
Kyong-Rye(polite) 45 degree
to express your gratitude
to apologize
to your guests

Normally, towards your close friends, a nod in the head would be adequate. When you first meet someone, shake their hands and greet with a light bow.

Conduct to show respect even go to the extend of the drinking culture. Quoted from Korea wikia,

Korea has a pretty strong drinking culture. You’ll commonly see people staggering the streets of major cities at 6 or 7 PM. When Koreans drink in groups, they insist on pouring each other’s drinks. When drinks are poured, strict observance is paid to the social heirarchary of the group. Older or higher ranking people may pour drinks and accept them with one hand, but younger people must perform these actions with two hands. If it is physically inconvenient to pour a drink with two hands, the second hand may be placed on the wrist or the elbow or even the breast to signify respect. When drinks are poured, they should not be drunken without doing a “cheers” with the group. Often Koreans will say ‘Kompay’ or ‘Kompai’ while doing this. When the glasses are clinked together, younger people should clink their glasses on the lower part of an older person’s glass to show respect. Then, when the glass is drunk, the younger person should slightly turn away and cover his/her mouth while drinking. As the night progresses, Koreans will tend to become ‘forgetful’ about doing cheers every time. But a polite person will still keep a close watch to see that his/her partners always have a full glass

Foreigners, however, are generally excused from these requirements. When drinking with foriegners, Koreans. tend to simply require that a foreigner do a few cheers and not drink alone, but with little concern for the finer points of etiquette.

[just don’t drink too much :-p]




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: