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ISSN : 1226-4822(Print)
ISSN : (Online)
The Sociolinguistic Journal of Korea Vol.29 No.3 pp.253-280

North and South Koreans' Perception of Expressive Speech Act

Haiyoung Lee,Bolami Lee,Hee Chung Chun
Professor, Korean Studies, Ewha Womans University,
Senior Researcher, National Institute of Korean Language,
Assistant Teaching Professor, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey


We examined how North Korean refugees (NKRs) residing in South Korea and South Korean natives (SKs) perceive expressive speech act with message-oriented utterances and relationship-oriented utterances. Unlike most previous literature, we focused on the pragmatic heterogeneity and illustrated possible pragmatic failures that NKRs may encounter in South Korea. The 47-SKs and 43-NKRs responded to the survey with videoclips that shows combinations of the speech acts (thanking, compliment/response, and apology) and the utterance type (message-oriented and relationship-oriented). Each video entails three survey questions asking for participant's perception of conversations and their evaluation on the speaker's personality. The analysis revealed that SKs' perception of relationship-oriented utterances is more positive than NKRs. Also, NKRs' evaluations did not change significantly over time, showing that explicit instruction on the difference may be required. These findings suggest that for successful communication between two groups with different sociocultural backgrounds, instruction in language use can be helpful.




  1. Journal Abbreviation : j. Korea Saf. Manag. Sci.
    Frequency : Published three times annually in April, August and December, including an international issue
    Doi Prefix : 10.14353/sjk.
    Year of Launching : 2013
    Publisher :
    The Sociolinguistic Society of Korea
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