The present study examines English loanwords appearing in a Korean television drama, Start-up, to understand how English is incorporated into Korean discourse in the settings of everyday life. Data analysis revealed that the drama contains a relatively high number of English loanwords presumably due to the protagonists' young age and the tech-based start-ups that it features. One of the distinct characteristics of English loanwords in their forms is the extensive use of ‘English-hada’ words and other types of words combining Korean and English elements. In addition, the use of English often extends beyond the word level to phrases or even sentences. The functions of English loanwords in the drama were found to fill a lexical gap in the Korean language, strengthen the sense of belonging and bonding among the members of a particular generation or group, create a humorous atmosphere, and symbolize professional competence and thus an elevated level of the speakers' social status.
On December 27, 2017, the Ministry of Education in Korea published a policy intended to ban English education in public kindergartens and day-care centers. The policy instantly sparked a strong backlash from the public, who voiced concerns and opposition to it in online news comments. This study analyzed 5,815 online news comments to identify public perception of the ban in particular and early childhood English education in general. The findings revealed that the number of opponents of the ban was much larger than that of supporters (85.1% vs. 14.9%). The opponents disapproved the ban for the following reasons. First, the ban would make parents turn to private education and eventually end up widening the gap between those who can afford it and those who cannot. Second, the ban clearly infringes on the basic right to get an education. Third, English is being taught through play-based curriculum, which causes little stress and emotional burdens for children despite the concerns of the government. On the other hand, the supporters underscored the role of parents and the importance of children's native tongue to back up their arguments for the ban. Overall, this study may provide insights about how to utilize online news comments to study public perception of English education.
Ballena, Mae Karr Ruth & Shim, Young-Sook. 2018. “Representation of Social Struggles in Korean and Philippine ELT Textbooks”. The Sociolinguistic Journal of Korea 26(1). 201~228. The present study investigates the representations of social struggles depicted in middle school English textbooks published in Korea and the Philippines. The data consists of 200 reading selections from 18 volumes of Korean textbooks and 108 reading selections from 3 volumes of Philippine textbooks. A total of 39 instances of social struggles were identified from the data analysis, and the following categories emerged from careful reviews of those instances: (1) social struggles involving social groups, which are further divided into subcategories such as gender, generation, socioeconomic class, social rank, race, and the colonizer/colonized; and (2) social struggles involving resources, which are subdivided into education, basic necessity, and technology. Findings show that social struggles associated with gender, colonization, education, and technology are common among Philippine and Korean ELT textbooks. The data analysis also reveals that Philippine textbooks present a wider array and more in-depth contextualization of social struggles while representational issues on stereotyping, desensitization, and juxtaposition of elements are found in Korean textbooks. Related to the research findings, some educational implications are provided particularly from the perspective of critical pedagogy.
Shim, Young-Sook. 2016. “A Study on Semantic Relation of English Loanwords with Their Corresponding Korean Words”. The Sociolinguistic Journal of Korea 24(3). 281~316. The premise underlying the Korean language “purification” by way of replacing loanwords with Korean existing words is that loanwords and their corresponding Korean words occupy nearly identical semantic domains and thus are interchangeable. Few studies, however, have been conducted to verify this premise. This study aims to investigate the semantic relation of English loanwords with their corresponding Korean words recommended for purification of the Korean language. From the database consisting of news articles in the economy section of Korean newspapers, six loanwords were chosen for an in-depth analysis. With Trends 21 Corpus and Naver being primary tools, the loanwords and their corresponding Korean words are analyzed in terms of frequency, co-occurrence, collocation, and usage. The findings show that the loanwords semantically relate to their corresponding Korean words in various ways, with the words across the pairs presenting varying degrees of semantic likeness, difference, and inclusion. Suggestions for further research are provided based on the findings.
Shim, Young-sook. 2015. “An analysis of ELF-oriented features in Korean middle school English textbooks”. The Sociolinguistic Journal of Korea 23(3). 147~176. This study examined how ELF-oriented features were incorporated into English textbooks used in Korean middle schools. A total of 213 dialogues and 214 reading texts presented in 21 textbooks were analyzed from the perspective of English as a global language. The analysis of the data revealed the following findings. First, most of the textbook dialogues took place between either English native speakers or an English native speaker and a Korean speaker, with the number of dialogues involving non-Korean ESL or EFL speakers remaining very low. Second, nearly all the audio-recordings of the dialogues and the reading texts presented American English accent regardless of the nationalities and cultural backgrounds of the speakers or narrators in the materials. Lastly, a considerable portion of the reading texts contained topics or situations that can potentially enhance learners' interculturality, though ELF-related issues were rarely addressed in the texts. Based on the findings, this paper suggested some implications for ELF-based English education in Korean context.
Shim, Youngsook. 2014. World Englishes research in Korea, China, and Japan: A meta-analysis of articles published in World Englishes and English Today. The Sociolinguistic Journal of Korea 22(3). The objective of this paper is to provide an overview of research findings on world Englishes in the context of Korean, Chinese, and Japanese societies, based on an analysis of 89 research articles published in two international journals, World Englishes and English Today, between 2005 and 2014. After a careful review of them, the articles were classified into four important topic areas: the local variety, including language users’ attitudes toward it and its linguistic characteristics (36%); other varieties of world Englishes, with subcategories of perception, education, and intelligibility of those varieties (17%); English use in the given social context, further categorized into descriptive analysis and critical analysis of English use (25%); English teaching and learning, including general EFL teaching/learning topics and English- medium instruction (18%); and others (4%). This paper presents important findings surrounding each topic area and further discusses their sociolinguistic implications and suggests future research direction.
This article reports on research into self-directed English leaning of Korean university students, focusing on their motivation and metacognition. In general, university students in Korea undertake independent learning to improve their English competence outside the classroom, rather than relying on English courses provided by their
universities. Although much of their English learning is self-directed, little has been known about how they carry out their out-of-class English learning. To obtain a better understanding of their self-directed
learning, this study, employing a qualitative approach, analyzed reflective journals written by 25 university students during one semester. From the analysis, students’ motivation and metacognition emerged as important themes involved in the students’ self-directed learning. The findings of this study suggest that student motivation continuously ebbs and flows as a result of its complex interrelationship with contextual factors. In addition, it was found that students’ metacognitive knowledge played a crucial role in directing their out-of-class learning as students adopted learning strategies based on their metacognitive knowledge, which was again formed and revised in the course of their learning process. Finally, this article presents suggestions for promoting students’ self-directed English learning.
Researchers in second language acquisition have claimed that the teacher-student setting of the typical L2 classroom may not provide an optimal environment for negotiation of meaning. This claim, however, has been based on quantitative analyses without examination of the actual negotiation process. From a different point of view, namely, a socioconstructivist perspective, this study focuses on how a teacher supported students during negotiations of meaning and how the students contributed to those negotiations in an intermediate ESL classroom. The findings show that the teacher’s scaffolding played a crucial role in constructive negotiations. She continuously checked the students’ levels of comprehension and searched for better ways to resolve comprehension problems. In addition, she assisted the students as they modified their utterances to resolve communication breakdowns. She also offered help by mediating the students’ successful communication between each other. For their part, the students contributed their own scaffolding to assist class members who were having difficulty comprehending and producing language during their negotiations with the teacher. Those findings suggest that collaborative negotiation of meaning between teacher and student in the classroom is rich in learning opportunities.