• PhD, UCLA, March 1991

Research Interests

  • Korean language and linguistics
  • Comparative study of East Asian languages
  • Discourse-pragmatic and cognitive approaches to grammar

Courses Recently Taught

  • All levels of Korean language
  • EALC E233, Survey of Korean Civilization
  • EALC E305/505, Korean Language and Culture
  • EALC E505, Structure of Korean
  • EALC E351, Korean: a linguistic description

Publication Highlights

Books and monographs
  • 2005. (Co-authored with Sungdai Cho and Hye-Sook Wang). Integrated Korean: Advanced-Superior (Vol. 1 & 2). Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. 
  • 2001. (Co-authored with Young-mee Yu Cho, Carol Schulz, Ho-Min Sohn, and Sung-Ock Sohn). Integrated Korean: Intermdiate (Vol. 1 & 2). Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. 
  • 2000. (Co-authored with Young-mee Yu Cho, Carol Schulz, Ho-Min Sohn, and Sung-Ock Sohn) Integrated Korean: Beginning (Vol. 1 & 2). Korean Language Education and Research-Korea Foundation Textbooks in Korean language. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. 
  • 1987. Discourse presupposition and the discourse function of the topic marker nun in Korean. Bloomington: Indiana University Linguistics Club.
Journal articles
  • To appear. Dynamicity as an archi-concept in Korean. Studies in Language
  • 2006. Discussions and comments on S-Y. Moon (On the present tense morpheme in Cheju dialect of Korean, Morphology 6.1, 2004). 형태론  (Morphology) 8.1, 19-138. [In Korean]
  • 2005. Issues and problems in teaching grammar and Korean language textbooks. 한국어 교육연구 (Studies in Korean Langauge Education) 16, 241-270. [In Korean]
  • 2000. Two kinds of locatives in Korean revisited: a dynamic vs.static view. Korean Linguistics10, 141-154, a journal of International Circle of Korean Linguistics. 
  • 1999. A discourse-pragmatic analysis of the Committal -ci in Korean: a synthetic approach to the form-meaning relation. Journal of Pragmatics 31, 243-275. 
  • 1995. A multi-perspective analysis of the temporal system in Korean. 언어 (Korean Journal of Linguistics) 20.3, 207-250. [In Korean] 
  • 1993d. The temporal system of noun-modifying (attributive) clauses in Korean from a typological perspective. Studies in Language 17.1, 75-110. 
  • 1993c. Cognitive constraints on expressing newly perceived information: With reference to epistemic modal suffixes in Korean. Cognitive Linguistics 4.2, 135-167. 
  • 1993b. Tense or aspect: The speaker's communicative goals and concerns as determinants, with respect to the Anterior -ôss- in Korean. Journal of Pragmatics 20, 327-358.
  • 1993a. Discourse-pragmatic approach to grammar: toward a new direction of Korean linguistics. 주시경 학보 11, 3-49. Seoul: Cwusikyeng Research Institute & Tower Press. [In Korean] 
  • 1989. (Co-author with Sandra A. Thompson) A discourse account of the Korean accusative marker. Studies in Language 13.1: 105-128.


As a functional linguist, I am interested in discourse-pragmatics, linguistic typology and language universals. I seek functional explanations on why languages are structured in the ways they are through the ways human beings communicate with each other. I take the view that our communicative needs and strategies shape grammar, and grammar is the fossilizaton or routinization of recurrent communicative habits and patterns.

Recently, grammaticalization is my main research area. Many grammatical constructions and forms are developed from lexical words mainly due to the creativity of the speakers, which stem mainly from two brands of motivation. One is the speaker's desire to strengthen expressive power. Abstract grammatical relations are expressed with lexical words with concrete meanings such as body parts, basic spatial and temporal concepts. The other is the need to regulate communicative transaction. Not only linguistic tools are limited to express everything the speakers want to express, but also the speakers have to convey their subjective attitudes and emotions. A creative use of a word or construction leads the communication participants to draw inference from what is said, and that usage becomes conventionalized to be associated with that particular linguistic form. Grammaticalization could take different paths, and its consequence is synchronic variation. The focus of my current research is to find a conceptual network among the different uses of a linguistic form and reconstruct the grammaticalization path.

As a Korean language instructor, I pursue active learning through contextualized instruction. Students are expected to learn from contextualized dialogues in class rather than the instructor explains the grammar from the outset. Recently I am intrigued by infinite number of possibilities of teaching and learning through web-based technology. Although I doubt that classroom interaction can entirely be removed from language teaching, current web and multimedia technology can enhance the learners' chance to be contacted with the target language in more interesting and contextualized way than textbooks. Anyone interested in seeing part of my efforts in this regard, visit