Korean Sociolinguistics Paper wins 2023 Skillend Prize

Sheffield Korean Studies student Polly Harley's dissertation on Korean sociolinguistics wins the prize for best undergraduate paper in Korean Studies in the UK.

Jessop West

University of Sheffield alumna Polly Harley has received the Bill Skillend prize from the British Association of Korean Studies (BAKS). This prize is awarded in commemoration of the late Professor Bill Skillend to an undergraduate student submitting an outstanding final-year dissertation on a Korea-related topic. Professor Bill Skillend was a pioneer in the study of Korean language and literature and responsible for the introduction of its instruction in the UK.

Polly graduated in 2023 from the School of East Asian Studies with a degree in Korean Studies. She received a SURE Grant in 2022 to research anonymous online platform communication in South Korea and this developed into her final year dissertation focusing on the sociolinguistics aspects of new type-based registers in South Korean online communication that are designed to thwart or trick translation and content algorithms on sites like Twitter and Airbnb. 

Her thesis was entitled 'Tricking the Translator: Translation Algorithm Avoidance and Nationalism in a South Korean Context'. The award panel commented on the paper is very original and stands at the frontier of research topics. The essay was well written, well researched, was comparative in its approach, and critically used two theories. It was exciting to read, and made us laugh in places because of the subject. We thought that if this type of research were extended, it could be the basis of a doctoral thesis.' This year was the most competitive year in the history of the Skillend Prize. 


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