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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Korean residents in Japan and their Korean language in multiple language contacts Son, Jeonghye


In present-day Japan, there are about 500,000 Korean residents (henceforth, Zairiichi Koreans) and most of them are individuals who were forced to cross over to Japan as lowwage labourers and for miiitary service during the colonial period and their descendants. The language contact which Zainichi Koreans have undergone is interesting for a number of reasons. The majority of the first generations are southern dialect speakers; due to geographical proximity to Japan, it was easier for Koreans in the southern areas on the peninsula to cross over to Japan. However, following liberation from Japan in 1945, younger generations have been exposed to the standard languages of North or South Korea in schools that were established for children remaining in Japan whereas, at home, to the dialects spoken by older generations in their families or communities. Moreover, in their day-to-day activities they primarily use the dominant language of Japanese. It is the purpose of this study to characterize the Korean language used by Zainichi Koreans through an in-depth analysis of orthography, lexicon and grammar compared with the original Korean language used on the peninsula, and to suggest the socio-linguistic typology. This study is based mainly on data from three volumes of comic books which were titled ‘Flutter Toward the Sky’ (Ch anggonge narae ch ‘Jra) and published by a Chongryun run publisher, ChasJn Sinbo and on audio-recorded data from classes in a Chongryun-run primary school. As a result, it was ascertained that Chongryun Korean language is not a language which can trace its origins in a straightforward fashion as ‘inheritance’ from a single standard or regional dialect on the Korean peninsula. Although Chongryun Koreans have been educated in the Korean language through the model of the North Korean standard language in schools, their Korean language comprises not only official North Korean features but also southern dialectal features presumably transmitted from first generation Koreans and is influenced by the dominant language, Japanese. Moreover, based on the functional and linguistic characteristics (i.e., semantic shifts, functional shifts, omission, and innovatory) of Zainichi Korean language, this study suggests that Zainichi Korean language can be defined as an emigrant language.

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