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ISSN : 1226-4822(Print)
ISSN : (Online)
The Sociolinguistic Journal of Korea Vol.31 No.4 pp.1-32

The Speech Act of Explanation in Closure Signs

Hye-Kyung Lee*
* Author: Hye-Kyung Lee, Professor, Dept. of English, Ajou University; 206 Worldcup-ro,
Yeongtong-gu, Suwon, Gyeonggi 16499, Korea; Email:


Lee, Hye-Kyung. (2023). “The Speech Act of Explanation in Closure Signs”. The Sociolinguistic Journal of Korea, 31(4), 1-32. This study investigates the speech act of explanation within a corpus of approximately 243 closure signs posted during the Covid-19 pandemic in Korea. Using a classification system derived from Bella and Ogiermann (2022), the explanations are categorized into four distinct groups. Category 1 explanations are further divided into three subcategories: signs revealing the relationships between government decisions and closures, those with expressions of support for official mandates, and those presenting dissent with closure directives. A comparative analysis between the third sub-category and pandemic-related activities (i.e., My Body My Choice Activities) is also conducted, highlighting similarities and differences. Category 2 centers on safety concerns, emphasizing public health and safety as the primary justification for closures. Notably, this category showcases an elevated sense of agency among sign authors. Explanations in Category 3 combine Categories 1 and 2. Category 4 explanations, which attribute closure to Covid-19, necessitate an investigation of terms referring to Covid-19. It is observed that the naming closely adheres to normative and public guidelines, reflecting a collective awareness of the crisis and a commitment to cooperation. The findings contribute valuable insights into the linguistic and cultural characteristics of explanations within Korean business closure signs, indicating phenomena specific to Korean communities.





  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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