English Education Marketing in South Korea: "Creating Global Koreans!"

Jamie Shinhee Lee

Univ. of Michigan-Dearborn, United States of America


Globalization has generated various scholastic discourses (see, e.g. Appadurai 1996, Blommaert 2003, Flowerdew 2002, Heller 2003, Waters 1995). In particular, its relevance to the spread of English and the tension between the global influence of English and its local manifestations have been discussed in sociolinguistics (see, e.g., Bambose 2001, Park 2004, Pennycook 2007, Shin 2004).

The project English Village in South Korea is a prime example of the interconnectivity between globalization and English. The main goal of this project is to provide English speaking spaces within Korea to create "global Koreans" (http://english village.gg.go.kr /eng/ aboutgecf/ vod_pr.jsp). Ideological constructs embedded in its public relations material are based on the following discourses: (1) globalization (e.g., creating "global Koreans") (2) economy (e.g. "the affordable English world in Korea") (3) English education reform (e.g., "living and breathing" English) (Lee 2007). Yoo (2006) argues that since the early 1990s the South Korean government has initiated a national globalization project called "Segyehwa" and promoted English as a necessity to enhance Korea’s competitiveness in the world.

This study examines 100 randomly selected texts on the Internet to investigate how the macro discourse of globalization is locally manifested in various Korean micro texts including homepages of English language teaching institutes, book promotional materials, and personal blogs. The findings of the study suggest that speaking English and "being global" are often treated as synonymous in these Korean texts. The ability to speak English is viewed as the most essential quality required for "global Koreans" in order to be economically competitive in the international market, indicating that the South Korean public recognizes a trinity of globalization, English, and economy.


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Yoo, Ok Kyoon (2006) Discourses of English as an Official Language in a Monolingual Society: the Case of South Korea.” 10 Nov. 2006. < accessed June 1, 2007)http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&lr=&q=cache:brUY1wxNROYJ:www.hawaii.edu/sls/uhwpesl/23(2)/5%2520Yoo,%2520Ok%2520Kyoon.doc+ok+kyoon+yoo>.

Session: Paper session
Planning/Policy 6 (Standardization, Codification)
Friday, April 4, 2008, 13:45-15:15
room: 14