Teachers' use of speech styles in the Korean language classroom

Park, Mi Yung
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2014]
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This study examines teachers' speech style use and shifts in upper-level Korean as a Foreign Language (KFL) classrooms at an American university. It qualitatively describes how seven KFL teachers employ different speech styles during instruction to construct classroom activities and accomplish their roles as teachers. The data collected for this study comprise audio-and video-recorded conversations of seven KFL teachers and their students in the classroom. These data are supplemented by participant observation and field notes. Although considerable attention has been recently devoted to Korean language education, the type of language used by the teachers as well as the nature of interactions occurring between teachers and students in the classroom remains an understudied topic in the field. This study analyzes teacher talk in KFL classrooms to examine the social meanings and functions of the speech styles. At present, there are only a few studies of teacher-student interactions in the Korean language classroom. This dissertation aims to contribute to a fuller understanding of classroom discourse and the teaching of Korean by providing a better idea of the language that students are exposed to in the classroom. Traditional grammarians have proposed prototypical usages of each Korean speech style by describing the possible communicative contexts where each speech style can be used. They describe addressee honorifics as an extensive Korean grammatical system that expresses varying levels of politeness and formality. Although these traditional accounts provide solid explanations of the conditions for the use of each speech style, there are limitations to such an approach. These traditional accounts of speech styles are based on the assumption that there is a one-to-one association between the speech style and the context of its use. In this view, speech styles are mainly selected depending on the sociocultural characteristics of interlocutors. However, factors that influence speakers' speech style selections are dynamic and complex because they are informed by the speakers' constantly changing feelings, stances, and identities in the course of interaction. This study will help us understand the various social meanings and functions of non-referential indexes through its case study of the Korean speech styles used in KFL classrooms. By drawing on the theory of linguistic politeness, the concept of indexicality, and social constructionist views of identities, this study examines (1) which speech styles KFL teachers use and when they shift among them during instruction, (2) how the shifts in speech styles allow teachers to construct classroom activities and accomplish their roles as teachers, (3) how KFL teachers establish their identities variably by drawing on speech styles, and (4) how students respond to changes in teachers' speech styles. Thus, by exploring KFL teacher talk, this study accounts for what determines the teachers' speech style choices by relating speech style choice to their identities, which are shaped by the interactional demands during instruction. The analyses of KFL teachers' speech style use offered in this dissertation provide a foundation for practical suggestions for enriching the input available to students and improving the teaching of speech styles. The findings can ultimately contribute to the design of professional development for teachers by helping teachers become more analytical of their own instructional practices. It is my hope that the outcomes of this study will help teachers in their efforts to provide a richer language environment for students with respect to speech styles.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
Korean as a Foreign Language, KFL, education
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Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). East Asian Languages and Literatures (Korean).
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