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Korean Language in Culture and Society

From the publisher’s website:

Intended as a companion to the popular KLEAR Textbooks in Korean Language series and designed and edited by a leading Korean linguist, this is the first volume of its kind to treat specifically the critical role of language in Korean culture and society. An introductory chapter provides the framework of the volume, defining language, culture, and society and their interrelatedness and presenting an overview of the Korean language vis-à-vis its culture and society from evolutionary and dynamic perspectives.

Early on, contributors examine the invention and use of the Korean alphabet, South Korea’s “standard language” vs. North Korea’s “cultured language,” and Korean in contact with Chinese and Japanese. Several topics representative of Korean socio-cultural vocabulary (sound symbolic words, proverbs, calendar-related terms, kinship terms, slang expressions) are discussed, followed by a consideration of Korean honorifics and other related issues. Two chapters on Korean media, one on advertisements and the other a comparative analysis of television ads in Korea, Japan, and the U.S., follow. Finally, contributors look at salient features of the language, narrative structure, and dialectal variation. All chapters are accompanied by a set of student questions and a useful bibliography. A beginning level of proficiency in Korean is sufficient to digest the Korean examples with facility, making this volume accessible to a wide range of students.

Ho-min Sohn is professor emeritus of Korean language and linguistics at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.


The invention and use of the Korean alphabet / S. Robert Ramsey
“Standard language” and “cultured language” / Jaehoon Yeon
Korean in contact with Chinese / Ho-min Sohn
Korean in contact with Japanese / S. Robert Ramsey
Sound symbolism in Korean / Young-mee Yu Cho
Korean proverbs / Jeyseon Lee
Korean terms for calendar and horary signs, holidays, and seasons / Carol H. Schultz
Korean kinship terminology / Ross King
Slang in Korean / Duk-Soo Park
The structure and use of Korean honorifics / Miho Choo
Usage of Korean address and reference terms / Haejin Elizabeth Koh
Phatic expressions in Korean / Duk-Soo Park
Politeness in conversation in Korean : the use of -nŭnde / Yong-Yae Park
Korean cultural values in request behaviors / Andrew S. Byon
Gender differences in Korean speech / Young-A Cho
Gender differences in Korean politeness strategies / Hye-Sook Wang
Advertisements in Korean / Young-A Cho and Douglas Ling
The television ad as a reflection of culture : the case of Korea, Japan, and the United States / Susan Strauss
Linguistic structures of Korean / Sungdai Cho
Korean narrative structure : evidence from two popular fables / Shin Ja J. Hwang
Dialectal variation in Korean / Ross King.

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