Honorific Nouns

On my earlier days of studying Korean, i have been introduced to some words that are called honorific.  These are words that are used when talking to someone with high social status, government official, foreign guest, teachers etc.

When honorific words are used the polite (-요) or formal (-ㅂ니다/습니다) style of speech. Many of the honorific words I learned before are actually verb such as 주무시 (chumushi) instead or 자 (ja) for the word sleep or 드시 (dushi) instead of 먹다 (mokta) for the verb eat.   Apart from these verbs, there are noun that are considered honorific.  Here are some of the examples:

Regular Noun

Honorific Noun

English Meaning

집 (jip) 댁 (daek) House
나이 (nai) 연세 (yeonse) Age
사람 (saram) 분 (bun) Person
밥 (bap) 진지 (chinji) Rice
아이 (ai) 자 녀분 (cha nyeobun) Children
자 제분 (cha chebun)

These are the nouns preferred when talking to an esteemed person.

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2 Replies to “Honorific Nouns”

  1. Interesting site, very informative, thanks!

    Just a couple of typos that I noticed.

    진지 should have been Romanised chinji

    and yeonse should have been written in Hangeul 연세

    That is of course unless I am wrong. Your Korean proficiency is miles ahead of mine, but anyone can make a typo.

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