Linguistic Representation of the Sewol Ferry Disaster - A Corpus-based Analysis of Headlines from Two Korean Newspapers

Seminar with You-Kyung Ju, SOAS, the University of London

You-kyung was awarded a PhD in Korean Linguistics from the University of London, SOAS, in 2014. Her primary research interests lie in Korean Applied Linguistics, language typology and computer-assisted language experiments. She is particularly interested in sociolinguistic studies using qualitative research methods. You-kyung is currently teaching Korean at SOAS and used to teach at LSE and King’s College London. 

This study is a corpus-based analysis of headlines about the Sewol Ferry Disaster from two Korean newspapers, Chosun ilbo and Hankyoreh shinmun. The disaster occurred in April 2014, and a special law for the Sewol Ferry Disaster was enacted in October 2014. The headlines of the two Korean newspapers from April 2014 to October 2014 were collected and examined for linguistic peculiarities in the word frequency in order to identify the ideological inclinations of the two newspapers. The corpus-based linguistic study revealed that the headlines have concealed ideological meanings and are manipulated along some ideological lines to use words that reflect newspaper companies’ views and perceptions. The study concludes that headlines can be used as a perspective-inducing strategy by the editors of newspaper companies in order to create and foster the readers’ opinions on national issues, and eventually shift the responsibility for the disaster in this case.

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