Perceptual dialectology study of Korean focusing on authentic speakers of Gyeongsang dialect

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Young Hwang

Abstract

Previous perceptual dialectology research on Korean has shown that Gyeongsang speakers display signs of linguistic insecurity and suffer from a dialect inferiority complex. The participants of these studies, however, were Gyeongsang expatriates living outside of the Gyeongsang region, either in Seoul or in the U.S., where most Korean speakers use Standard Korean. In order to address the gap in previous studies, the present study examines how “authentic” Gyeongsang speakers (that is, those living in the Gyeongsang region) perceive dialects in South Korea. The results of the present study reveal that Gyeongsang speakers living in Gyeongsang regions show positive attitudes toward their dialect. Although they judge their dialect less positively than Standard Korean because of the extraordinary authority of Standard Korean in South Korea, they generally perceive their dialect more positively than other regional dialects. Older speakers, in particular, demonstrate this tendency. The perceptual difference between Gyeongsang speakers living outside of the Gyeongsang regions and those living in the Gyeongsang regions suggest that an individual’s self-identity and living location influence his or her perception of a dialect.

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