First Advisor

KyungAh Yoon

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Anthropology and University Honors




Korean language -- Usage, Communication in organizations -- Korea -- Case studies, Speech and social status, Television programs -- Korea




The influences of Confucian and neo-Confucian values can be seen in contemporary Korean culture and language (Seth 2016). The Korean language is hierarchical, meaning that the language demonstrates a clear social hierarchy between speakers through the use of various determined linguistic techniques (Agha 1998). Native Korean speakers employ a combination of speech styles and levels, honorifics, politeness and humbling strategies to convey their reception of the hearer’s social location in the hierarchy (Choo 2006). The environment of the Korean workplace is shaped by these cultural values with very apparent social stratification by rank (Lee 2012). The emphasis on social stratification makes the Korean workplace a great environment to study the use of various speech forms in hierarchical relationships. This paper will analyze the usage of speech styles in hierarchical relationships in the Korean workplace by examining conversations in the Korean office drama Misaeng.


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