In 2018, Georgia Tech launched a new program in Korean Studies at the School of Modern Languages. Over the past two years, the Modern Languages Korean program has grown and diversified its research and course offerings, now offering one of the only B.S. degrees in Korean in Georgia. The program has also taken a leadership role in involving students in research, receiving numerous grants and accolades for innovative research and exceptional service. With a substantial grant from the Korean Foundation, Korean at the School of Modern Languages is on track to further diversify its already impressive scope of innovative teaching and research.
Awards and Funding
The Korea Foundation has granted the Korean program a total of $392,153 (over 2021-2026) for the establishment of a tenure-track professorship position on Korean Studies, particularly Korean films and culture, thanks to the leadership of Professor Yongtaek Kim (PI) and the Korean faculty. This new permanent position will make major contributions to the current B.S. degree in Korean as well as the M.S. degrees in Korean, which are anticipated to start in AY2022 upon Institute approval.
Award-Winning Student Research
In 2019, Samuel Weiss-Cowie, a second year ALIS major (double major in Korean and Neuroscience) was granted the PURA (President's Undergraduate Research Award) for his conference presentation with Lecturer of Korean in the School of Modern Languages and mentor, Seung-Eun Chang, at the LSA (Linguistic Society of America). Weiss-Cowie and Chang presented their work on "Hyper-articulation in Korean glides by heritage language learners" at the Linguistic Society of America. This work was also recently published in the International Journal of Bilingualism.
Innovative Research in Linguistics
Seung-Eun Chang is a lecturer of Korean and Linguistics, and she is one of several Modern Languages faculty working on cutting-edge linguistics research in addition the School's other research areas: film and literature, cultural studies, and global media. Her current research focuses on clear speech effects of Korean vowels with Korean native, L2 learners and heritage learners. Her recent article, “A phonetic study of Korean heritage learners’ production in Korean word-initial stop” appeared in the Heritage Language Journal. Chang is also working on a project exploring synchronous virtual language classrooms, which will be published next year.
Yongtaek Kim, associate professor of Korean, researches historical and cognitive contrastive linguistic analysis between Korean and Japanese, as well as content and language integrated learning on Korean history, culture, literature, and society. Kim is currently developing a mobile application to teach Korean as a foreign language (KFL) and English as a second language (ESL), which will teach language learners new vocabulary including the pronunciation and intonation, which are especially challenging for learners of Asian languages.
Paving the Way for the Future of Korean Studies at Tech
The Korean program reflects the global impact of the Korean Wave, or "Hallyu," a term that refers to the phenomenal popularity of Korean culture, including K-pop, drama, movies, entertainments, and cuisine. However, given that the field of Korean culture and media at Georgia Tech is a relatively new initiative, the necessary resources are extremely limited.
In response, and with support from the Digital Integrative Liberal Arts Center (DILAC), the Korean faculty in collaboration with three Korean students, Ye Jun Kim, Philip Glover, and Samuel Weiss-Cowie, have created a digital archive of Korean media. This project showcases a virtual media archive of Korean culture, with the aim of supporting Korean culture and media studies and relevant course teachings. The Korean language represents the third most-spoken language in Georgia (Demographics of Georgia, 2010), and a new undergraduate Korean program was established in Georgia Tech in 2018.
This virtual library of media will enrich not only cultural studies and teaching but also Korean language and other content courses at all levels. The digital archive with various formats of media connected with Korean cultures will provide meaningful and practical resources to researchers, students, and instructors. In the current project, various media resources with sorted cultural topics are provided. Cultures are closely entwined with language, history, literature, and society, and the availability of this intercultural media resource affords valuable insights and conversation to all campus communities both within and beyond the Korean community. See the digital archive here!
A New Curriculum
The Korean program has introduced new classes in the last two semesters, expanding their offerings to Tech students. A few of their new courses include:
KOR 3002 – Advanced Korean - Special Topics: The second part of advanced Korean with a focus on students’ critical linguistic and cultural awareness, including Korean social issues and values and more abstract topics. Integrated with a Korean cooking class (regional foods with history, recipe, characteristics, etc.) Instructor: Lee Oh
KOR 3410 - Korea Old and New: Enhances the appreciation of Korea by comparing aspects of the past and the present with politics, music (K-Pop), family, popular culture, and war. Taught in English. Instructor: Yongtaek Kim
KOR 3691 – Korean Society: An intensive advanced (4th year) level course offered during the faculty-led Korean LBAT program; Students will understand and analyze Korean society and culture. Instructor: Jong Lee
KOR 3692 - Korean Industry: Korean Industry, is an intensive culture course of 3 credits taught during the faculty-led summer program for 8 weeks. It is designed to enhance students’ intercultural understanding of Hallyu (Korean cultural wave)-related business, products, and/or services of Korea. Instructor: Jong Lee
KOR 4060 - Media and Public Culture: Development of cultural awareness and analytical thinking in the context of Korean pop media, such as newspapers, films, drama, TV shows, music, radio, advertisements, and documentaries. Taught in Korean. Instructor: Seung-Eun Chang
To learn more about the Korean program at Georgia Tech, visit https://modlangs.gatech.edu/languages/korean