Moving toward Korean as a "Cultural Experience Language"

Dr. Robert Fouser
Tuesday, May 21, 2019 -
7:30pm to 9:00pm
Second floor Residents’ Lounge, Somerset Palace
W10,000 for non-members; W5,000 student non-members (with student ID); free for members


Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch lecture series

Moving toward Korean as 

a "Cultural Experience Language" 


이미지: 사람 1명 이상, 하늘, 실외

    Nearly two decades into the 21st century, second language education is at crossroads. The hegemoney of English, continuing migration, and artificial intelligence (AI) are challenging long-held assumptions about second language education. These megatrends, to borrow from the title of John Naisbitt's bestselling 1982 book Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives, naturally affect Korean as a second language education. In this talk, I will discuss the effects of megatrends on Korean as a second language education today and offer speculative insight on future directions. Drawing on examples mainly from Asia and North America, I will focus on four areas: Korean as a heritage language, Korean as a second language in Korea, Korean as a second language overseas, and Korean as a "cultural experience language."

    I will argue that, as the influence of English continues to grow, the future of Korean as second language education is not bright. Heritage language education will decline as the population of Koreans emigrating declines, and Korean as second language education in South Korea will decline as the population of migrants declines. Korean as a second language education overseas will decline as South Korea shrinks on the world stage and as interest in learning second languages declines in response to the growth of AI and competition from other fields of study.

    In this context, Korean as a cultural experience language has the potential to buck these trends because it creates a "market" for language learning as a consumable experience. To shift toward teaching Korean as a cultural experience, I will argue that institutions should look to French language education for ideas. French as a cultural experience language was a response to the spread of English hegemony in the last 20th century and has helped French attract net groups of learners to make up for declines in "school French."


     Robert J. Fouser holds a B.A. in Japanese language and literature, and M.A. in Applied Linguistics, both from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Trinity College Dublin. He studied Korean language intensively at Seoul National University in the 1980s. During his time in Japan, he taught foreign language education at Kyoto University and developed the Korean language program in Kagoshima University. From 2008 to 2014, he taught Korean as a second/foreign language education at Seoul National University.   

    He also is the translator of Understanding Korean Literature (1997), co-author of Hanok: The Korean House 2015), and the author of four books in Korean: Mirae Simin ui jogeon [Conditions for Citizenship in the Future: A Manual of Democracy for Koreans] (2016), Seochon Hollik (Seochon-holic] (2016), Oegugeo Jeonpadam [The Spread of Foreign Languages] (2018), and Kakguk Dosi Tamgugi [Exploring Cities around the World] (2019). He also writes regular columns for media outlets in Korea. 

Venue:          Second floor Residents’ Lounge, Somerset Palace,

                      Gwanghwamun (near Anguk Station, across street from Japanese Embassy)

                      * Somerset Palace is no longer providing free parking.


Contact Us

Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch
Room 611, Korean Christian Building, Daehak-ro 19 (Yeonji-dong), Jongno-gu, Seoul 03129
[03129] 서울시 종로구 대학로 19 (연지동) 한국기독교회관 611호

Office is normally open as follows:

Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays & Saturdays:
                                   10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Wednesdays & Thursdays: 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Please call before your visit.
Phone (02) 763-9483 FAX (02) 766-3796

Email -

Find Us On...


Subscribe to Syndicate