Social aspects of Korean as a heritage language

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Book chapter

Source Publication

The handbook of Korean linguistics

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First Page


Last Page



John Wiley & Sons


ethnic identity, heritage language, heritage speakers, ideologies circulating, korean heritage language learner


This chapter outlines research in sociolinguistic competence that can make a contribution to understanding the needs of the Korean heritage language (KHL) learner. The close relationship of language to ethnic identity has been the focus of a great deal of research in HL acquisition. It also discusses the attitudes and motivations of KHL students, including the role of parents attitudes and motivations in KHL learning. The chapter overviews of the studies on these three intersecting categories of language ideologies are 1) ideologies of heritage speakers (or how they value the HL), 2) ideologies circulating in the society (either mainstream society or the society of the target language), and 3) ideologies linked to the language itself (or values/beliefs that are associated with speaking Korean). Korean encodes hierarchical relationships based on power, age, and solidarity in various aspects of the grammar, notably in the use of honorifics.



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Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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Recommended Citation

Kang, M. A. (2015). Social aspects of Korean as a heritage language. In L. Brown & J. Yeon (Eds.), The handbook of Korean linguistics (pp. 405–418). Malden: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. doi: 10.1002/9781118371008.ch23