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Many of the politeness studies do not address the idea that cultural values can control the perception of politeness and function as another ranking of the imposition (R) variable. Those studies neglect to see that cultural values influence the way linguistic politeness/ impoliteness is understood. Moreover, they do not take into account the fact that politeness is a culture-specific discursive concept. For this study a Confucian framework was integrated into Brown and Levinson’s politeness formula and then a questionnaire and a spoken discourse approach was used to capture the qualitative characteristics of interactional contexts. Findings herein highlight three important aspects of Korean honorific use in relation to linguistic politeness/ impoliteness. First, cultural values act as functional agents that provide a link between linguistic presentations and social practice. Second, Korean relational work requires Confucian cultural understanding and is a crucial element in the construction of individual identity.