Emergent multiplicities of self- and other-construction in Korean workplace-based television dramas

Minju Kim, Susan Strauss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The Korean language contains a complexly intricate system of self- and other- reference marking that serves to designate multiple aspects of socio-cultural symmetry and asymmetry involving speakers, addressees, hearers, overhearers, and referents. In this article, we use a database of TV workplace-based contexts and analyze the intricately creative ways in which interactants position themselves vis à vis their interlocutors, with fine-grained, incrementally gauged bits of gap-creating and gap-effacing discourse, through the use or non-use of honorific markings We demonstrate, through an appeal to Positioning Theory and Indexicality that these fine-grained linguistic indicators of emergent multiplicities of self-and other-construction serve as metaphorical scalar points on the sociometer of interpersonal interaction. We uncover discursive tension within these interactional contexts whereby informal interpersonal relationships leak into the more formal workplace background. Having used data based on a workplace environment, we find elements of language choice that index the intrinsic institutional hierarchy, in addition to discursive features that index other aspects of the relationships, such as prior acquaintance, as well as varying degrees of intimacy, expertise, sarcasm, coercion, and so forth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-36
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
StatePublished - Nov 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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