Functions of English: Education, Entertainment and Commercials in South Korea

Hyejeong Ahn, Seongyong Lee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The influence of the English language within various sociolinguistic domains in South Korean society has been greater than ever before. The present study presents an overview of the functional use of English in the domains of education, in English Korean television dramas, and in online commercials in South Korea. It is suggested that in the educational domain, English is largely used as the main means of assessment for academic success and its forms are highly standardised. In Korean television dramas, English is used to generate stylistic and creative TV drama titles with heavily hybridised and nativised forms, while English mixing in online commercials is used as a tool to index the identity of products and services to make them look more upmarket and glamorous. The study provides strong evidence to suggest that despite the emphasis on a “standard” variety of English in the educational domain, the forms of English that have been identified in other domains do not resemble the standard variety at all. Instead, heavily hybridised and localised words are created and used mainly for domestic consumption. The present study argues that hybridised English is inextricably linked with the lives of South Koreans and it has become a critical feature of South Korean linguistic resources that can be easily perceived and skilfully utilised.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMultilingual Education
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMultilingual Education
ISSN (Print)2213-3208
ISSN (Electronic)2213-3216


  • English in commercials
  • Functional use of English in South Korea
  • Functions of English
  • Hybridised English
  • Standard English

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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