English as International Language Revisited: Implications on South Korea’s ELT Context

Fadhlur Rahman(1*), Nizar Saputra(2)

(1) Institut Agama Islam Negeri Lhokseumawe
(2) Monash University
(*) Corresponding Author


This paper specifically aims to examine conceptual and empirical studies on the evolution of English Language Teaching (ELT) worldwide and its progression affecting ELT in South Korea. A systematic review was used as the research methodology. A number of significant articles from top-tier journals and book chapters were analysed utilising a content analysis, to gain evidence-based solutions. This paper begins with the outset of EIL (English as an International Language) in general, and examines a paradigm shift concerning the prestige norms such as American English (AmE) and British Received Pronunciation (RP). This paper heavily emphasizes on the condition of English Language Teaching in South Korea, and what theoretical foundations can be utilized to English language program in South Korea. Furthermore, this paper critically investigates the interconnectedness complexities between English and the national language, along with the attitudes toward native and non-native English-speaking teachers. The findings reveal some particular recommendations which can be undertaken to reconceptualize the language policy, teachers’ recruitment and curriculum developments in South Korea.


English as International Language (EIL); English Language Teaching (ELT); English Subject; South Korea

Full Text:



Abayadeera, N., Mihret, D., G. & Dulige, J., H. (2018). Teaching effectiveness of non-native English-speaking teachers in business disciplines: intercultural communication apprehension and ethnocentrism. Accounting Education, 27(2), 183-207.

Ahn, H. (2017). Researching Awareness and Attitudes: A Study of World Englishes and English Teachers in South Korea. PhD dissertation. Monash University.

Bamgbo?e, A. (2020). A recurring decimal: English in language policy and planning. In C.L. Nelson, Z. G. Proshina, & D. R. Davis (Eds.), The handbook of World Englishes (2nd Edition), 657-673. UK: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Braine, G. (2013). Non-native educators in English language teaching. Routledge.

Bryman, A. (2016). Social Research Methods. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Canagarajah, S. (2014). In search of a new paradigm for teaching English as an international language. TESOL Journal, 5(4), 767-785.

Cho, J. (2017). English language ideologies in Korea: Interpreting the past and present. Springer.

Chun, S., Y. (2014). EFL learners' beliefs about native and non-native English-speaking teachers: perceived strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 35(6), 563-579. doi: 10.1080/01434632.2014.889141

Finardi, K., Moore, P., & Guimarães, F. (2021). 3 Glocalization and Internationalization in University Language Policy Making. In Developing and Evaluating Quality Bilingual Practices in Higher Education (pp. 54-72). Multilingual Matters.

Goddard, C., & Wierzbicka, A. (2018). Minimal English and how it can add to Global English. In Minimal English for a Global World (pp. 5-27). Palgrave Macmillan.

Graddol, D., Leith, D., Swann, J., Rhys, M., & Gillen, J. (Eds.). (2020). Changing English. Routledge.

Halliday, M. A. K. (2020). Written language, standard language, global language. In C.L. Nelson, Z. G. Proshina, & D. R. Davis (Eds.), The handbook of World Englishes (2nd Edition), 331-348. UK: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Jane Ra, J. (2019). Exploring the spread of English language learning in South Korea and reflections of the diversifying sociolinguistic context for future English language teaching practices. Asian Englishes, 21(3), 305-319.

Jenks, C. (2019). English for sale: Using race to create value in the Korean ELT market. Applied Linguistics Review, 10(4), 517-538.

Jenkins, J. (2009). English as a lingua franca: Interpretations and attitudes. World Englishes, 28(2), 200-207.

Jeon, M. (2009). Globalization and native English speakers in English programme in Korea (EPIK). Language, Culture & Curriculum, 22(3), 231-243.

Jung, S. K., & Norton, B. (2002). Language planning in Korea: The new elementary English program. Language policies in education: Critical issues, 245, 265.

Kachru, B., B. (1992). The Other Tongue (Second edition). Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Kachru, B. B. (2005). Asian Englishes: Beyond The Canon (Vol. 1). Hong Kong University Press.

Kachru, Y., & Nelson, C. L. (2006). World Englishes in Asian Contexts (Vol. 1). Hong Kong University Press.

Kaplan, R. B., & Baldauf , R. B. (2003). Language policy decisions and power: Who are the actors. Language: Issues of inequality, 19-37.

Kim, E. G. (2011). English educational policies of the U.S. army military government in Korea from 1945 to 1948 and their effects on the development of English language teaching in Korea. Language Policy, 10(3), 193-220. DOI: 10.1007/s10993-011-9204- 9

Kim, B. R. (2015). The English fever in South Korea: Focusing on the problem of early English education. Journal of Education and Social Policy, 2(2), 117–124.

Kim, M. K. (2015). Students' and Teacher's Reflections on Project-Oriented Learning: A Critical Pedagogy for Korean ELT. English Teaching, 70(3).

Kim, H. (2015). Teachers' Opinions on the Evaluation of ELT Teachers' Books. English Language Teaching, 8(3), 1-12.

Kim, E. Y. J. (2017). The TOEFL iBT writing: Korean students’ perceptions of the TOEFL iBT writing test. Assessing Writing, 33, 1-11. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asw.2017.02.001

Kim, H., & Choi, J. (2017). The growth of higher education and science production in South Korea since 1945. In The Century of Science. Emerald Publishing Limited.

Kim, M., Choi, D. I., & Kim, T. Y. (2018). A political economic analysis of commodified English in South Korean neoliberal labor markets. Language Sciences, 70, 82-91.

Kirkpatrick, A. (2000). English as an Asian language. The Guardian Weekly, 3, 16-22.

Kirkpatrick, A. (2012). English as an International Language in Asia: Implications for language education. Dordrecht: Springer.

Kirkpatrick, A., & Lixun, W. (2020). Is English an Asian Language?. Cambridge University Press.

Kurian, N., & Kester, K. (2019). Southern voices in peace education: interrogating race, marginalisation and cultural violence in the field. Journal of peace education, 16(1), 21-48.

Kwon, O. (2000). Korea English education policy changes in the 1990s: Innovations to gear the nation for the 21st century. English Teaching Korea, 55(1), 47-91.

Lawrence, C. B. (2010). The verbal art of borrowing: analysis of English borrowing in Korean pop songs. Asian Englishes, 13(2), 22-43.

Lee, J. S. (2006). Linguistic constructions of modernity: English mixing in Korean television commercials. Language in Society, 35(01), 59-91. doi: doi:10.1017/S0047404506060039

Lee, J., Han, M. W., & McKerrow, R. E. (2010). English or perish: How contemporary South Korea received, accommodated, and internalized English and American modernity. Language and Intercultural Communication, 10(4), 337-357.

Lee, Y. S. (2012). The status quo of Korean secondary English education in the new millennium. Journal of the Korea English Education Society 11.1, 49–69.

Low, E. L., & Ahn, H. (2017). Attitudes to World Englishes: Implications for Teaching English in South Korea. Routledge.

Low, E. L., & Ao, R. (2018). The spread of English in ASEAN: Policies and issues. RELC Journal, 49(2), 131-148. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0033688218782513

Lyons, D. (2017). How many people speak English, and where is it spoken. Babbel Magazine.

McKay, S. L. (2018). English as an international language: What it is and what it means for pedagogy. RELC Journal, 49(1), 9-23.

MEST. (2011). National English ability test (NEAT) and the revisit of national wide education curriculum plan (NECP). Seoul: KICE.

Moodie, I & Nam, H., J. (2016). English language teaching research in South Korea: A review of recent studies (2009–2014). Language Teaching, 49, 63-98. DOI:10.1017/ S026144481500035X

Moodie, I. (2020). Commitment to the profession of ELT and an organization: A profile of expat faculty in South Korea. Language Teaching Research, 1-16. DOI: 10.1 177/1362168820938814.

Moodie, I., & Meerhoff, L.A. (2020). Using mock data to explore the relationship between com- mitment to English language teaching and student learning. Language Teaching, 53, 121–123.

Morin, A.J.S., Meyer, J.P., McInerney, D.M., Marsh, H.W., & Ganotice, F.A. (2015). Profiles of dual commitment to the occupation and organization: Relations to well-being and turnover intentions. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 32, 717–744.

Park, J. K. (2009). ‘English fever’ in South Korea: Its history and symptoms. English Today 25, 50–57.

Pennycook, A. (2017). The cultural politics of English as an international language. UK: Taylor & Francis.

Phillipson, R. (1992) Linguistic Imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Purkarthofer, J., & De Korne, H. (2020). Learning language regimes: Children's representations of minority language education. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 24(2), 165-184.

Quirk, R. (1985). The English language in a global context. English in the world: Teaching and learning the language and literatures, 16, 17-21.

Rahman, F., & Yuzar, E. (2020). Students’ Perception Towards NNESTs & NESTs’ Teaching Styles: A study at State Islamic University of Ar-Raniry. IJELTAL (Indonesian Journal of English Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics), 4(2), 321-335. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21093/ijeltal.v4i2.516

Rajagopalan, K. (2004). The concept of “World English” and its implications for ELT. ELT Journal, 58(2):111-117.

Shin, H. (2007). English Language Teaching in Korea. In: Cummins J., Davison C. (eds) International Handbook of English Language Teaching. Boston: Springer.

Shin, H., & Lee, B. (2019). “English divide” and ELT in Korea: Towards critical ELT policy and practices. Second handbook of English language teaching, 73-90. New York: Springer

Singh, M., Kell P., & Pandian, A. (2002). Appropriating English: Innovation in the global business of English language teaching. New York: Peter Lang.

Song, J. (2011). English as an official language in South Korea: global English or social malady? Language Problems & Language Planning, 35(1), 35-55. doi: 10.1075/lplp.35.1.03

Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (2000). Linguistic genocide in education, or worldwide diversity and human rights?. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (2015). Linguicism. The encyclopedia of applied linguistics. Malden, MA: Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal1460.

Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (2020). Linguistic genocide 1. In Cultural Violence and the Destruction of Human Communities (pp. 58-74). Routledge.

Yim, S. Y., & Hwang, K. (2019). Expatriate ELT teachers in Korea: participation and sense of belonging. ELT Journal, 73(1), 72-81.

Yoo, I. W. (2014). Nonnative teachers in the expanding circle and the ownership of English. Applied Linguistics, 35(1), 82-86. DOI: 10.1093/applin/amt043

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.30998/scope.v6i1.9383


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 Fadhlur Rahman

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

scope isjd

Portal Garuda Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

View My Stats

Flag Counter