English and Linguistic Imperialism: A Korean Perspective in the Age of Globalization

Mike Smith, Donghwan Kim (Translator)

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This critical literature review explores the effect of 'global' English on contemporary Korean society, specifically discussing the nation’s widespread adoption of English through the lens of Robert Phillipson's (1992) influential Linguistic Imperialism framework. Findings indicate that globalization, coupled with the infiltration of English into domestic language and culture, has transformed what it means to be a Korean citizen in the global era. An intense drive for English education has coincided with a period of remarkable prosperity for Korean industry, yet it has also fuelled an ever-widening class divide, marginalizing those who cannot afford private education. Korean educational and industrial policies, therefore, act to strengthen the hegemony of the English language and, by extension, inner-circle nations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-350
Number of pages19
JournalThe Mirae Journal of English Language and Literature
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2015


  • Linguistic Imperialism
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Applied Linguistics
  • Globalization
  • Korean Studies


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