Funded Research

A key aim of the network is to provide funding opportunities that can promote and enhance research on Korean language and society.

Read below about projects that were funded through the network.

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A core aim of the network was to support early career researchers who work on areas of Korean language and society, in fields such as sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, applied linguistics, or related disciplines. Because field-based research was affected by the pandemic, this funding allowed junior researchers to resume or undertake research that was delayed. The category 'early career researchers' includes academic researchers at the Master's, PhD, or Post-doctoral levels, as well as those in non-permanent jobs who are within five years of a PhD.

Funded Projects in 2022

The network has funded the following projects for early career researchers

Kyu Hyun Park, Northumbria University

Project description: 

'This funding will allow me conduct field research in Korea. The empirical work includes observations of interactions between native speakers of Korean to discover patterns in their production. I find evidence about how the communicative behaviour of participants is affected by assumptions about interlocutors. In particular, the empirical work focuses on how Korean speakers predict their hearers' cultural identity and apply their assumptions to the way of their speaking. Korean language provides insight to explore inference in speech production as it is highly contextual. For example, in terms of grammar, Korean may require high inferential ability as it allows to make sentences without indicating subject or object. Also, in the cultural perspective, there is nunch’i which is a concept of tact to read other people's minds. These interesting characteristics of Korean will help understanding about how speakers' inferences about hearers' cultural identities affect their speech.' 

Hana Jee, York St. John University

Project description:

'The meaning of a word is fluid. Entities and contexts affect the meaning of a vocabulary. This discordance can be worse where there is no physical reference to indicate, such as sarang (love) or pyeongdeung (equal). In this proposed research, I will explore if we can quantify the semantic gap between entities over identical political concepts. I will collect two separate politically-contrasting Korean newspapers and extract from them the 100 most commonly frequent words. I will measure semantic distances between those words within each corpus using latent semantic analysis (LSA). LSA is susceptible to the corpus on which the calculation is based. It will detect and quantify the different contextual usage of identical words between the two media. I will refine this text data with a few recent techniques like sentiment analysis and topic modelling. I will then qualitatively analyse how each concept is discursively constructed and manipulated by each medium. The study has an important methodological implication for various disciplines such as computational linguistics, sociolinguistics, psychology, and media discourse studies in exploring language use in media in connection with socio-political contexts.'

Kyoungmi Kim, York St. John University

Project description:

'My study looks at how the notion ‘feminism’ is discursively constructed in South Korean media. As much as feminism has become among the most significant thoughts in social institutions, the term ‘feminism’ has been (ab-)used in media. It has often been portrayed as being deviant and disruptive, facilitating the contexts for anti-feminist and misogynist ideas and abusive behaviours to flourish. In recent years in South Korea, in tandem with resurgence of feminist movements, the term ‘feminism’ has become a political tool, strategically mobilised by the media, stirring up hatred towards women and, in turn, hatred towards men. Given the rapidly growing anti-feminist sentiment and hate speech, it is crucial to examine discursive practices of the media as well as its readers online and, in doing so, combat dominant ideologies relating to gender and inequality within the society. By building a corpus from news websites in South Korea, the study conducts a quantitative analysis to identify recurring patterns of language choice, and critical discourse analysis to examine ideological workings of the media and its readers. The study will shed light on the role of media and its participants in the social and ideological processes and contribute to studies on gender and media discourse in South Korea.'



Funded Projects in 2023

Kyuin Kim, University of Sheffield

Project description:

My research focus is cultural competence in Korean language education. In order to boost cultural competence in language classes, cultural elements need to be integrated in many different areas of the learning curriculum. This funding will support and enable me to conduct field research in Korea whilst attending conferences to develop my research in this particular field. During this research, I will utilize cultural content with a primary focus on ‘Korean Food’ and by connecting the contents of Korean food and Korean language learning, the students will be able to acquire not only language proficiency but also the ability to understand, appreciate, and communicate their knowledge of the culture effectively. Given the rapid growth of Korean language needs in the UK, it is crucial to develop a Korean language curriculum with Korean cultural elements. This research will provide comprehensive Korean language educational resources integrated with Korea cultural content. This will help Korean language learners to become culturally competent and interact successfully, appropriately, and respectfully with people from different cultural backgrounds.

Soyoon Park, York St. John University

Project description:

My research demonstrates how Korean language learners in the United Kingdom perceive and perform gender in a study abroad context. Employing (Feminist/) Critical Discourse Analysis, the study first explores how gender is discursively constructed in Korean Pop Music whose performances of masculinities and femininities function as cultural indicators to facilitate Korean language learners’ understanding of contemporary gender ideals and norms in South Korea. Following the analysis, semi-structured interviews (conducted before, during and after study abroad) will be analysed in light of (F/)CDA, with a focus on hegemonic construction of gender and how it affects the participants in their perceptions and performances of gender on their study abroad trajectories. This study will add a sociolinguistic dimension to study abroad research, illustrating gender hegemony across British and Korean contexts through the stories of Korean language learners’ gendered experiences in Korea.

Mina Ha, University of Manchester

Project description:

My research focuses on transformative learning experience in Korean language classrooms, especially for cultural perspective and value transformation. A hypothesis of the research is that Korean language courses provide learners with opportunities to explore more new cultural perspectives, and they assess their old perspectives and transform, not only their cultural perspectives, but also personal perspectives. The research will be conducted mainly in a Higher Education setting in the UK. Transformative Learning frames developed by Jack Mezirow is adopted to deeply understand students’ experience. Learning Activity Survey (LAS) form will be used to detect whether, and to what extent, a transformational perspective occurred. In addition, semi-structured interviews will be to collect verbal and descriptive data. The funding will enable me to carry on field research and to attend a conference to present the research results. Furthermore, I will be able to collaborate with other researchers to design projects aiming at transformative learning experience.

Albert Park, University of Oxford

Project Description:

This ECR grant enabled collaborative research with partners at Seoul National University on the concept of 'resilience' (회복력 / hoebok-ryeok) in South Korean policy and public discourses. It responds to the rise of 'resilience' as a key theme in international policy. However, the ambiguity of the term raises challenges for effective policy translation. Framed as a problem in political linguistics, this project explores how resilience policies manifest in cross-national and explicitly cross-linguistic contexts. Comparing policy discourses on resilience in South Korea and the UK, this project pursues three aims. First is in generating more empirical evidence on how 'resilience' translates across policy contexts. Second is in deriving more nuanced understandings of the policy translation process in the contexts of climate action. Third is in generating impact in deriving policy implications for effective cooperation on building resilience against shared risks.

Rakgyun Shin, University College London

Project description:

This sociophonetic research project tries to explore the accent dynamics between North and South Korean residents living in New Malden, London’s Koreatown. This particular research focused on the Korean monophthong /ㅓ/ to see if North Korean female speakers change their original accent to southern one when they were put into a conversational task with a South Korean speaker. Further study of this project will look into the phonetic differences in other Korean vowels and consonants of the same group and/or will set other conditions such as the North-North pair conversational task which was not done by this research. This project might have a chance to explore phonetic characteristics of other North Korean speaker groups in New Malden - such as a group of North Korean male speakers, a group of different age range, etc.