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Indiana University Bloomington

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Hyo Sang Lee « Faculty

Hyo Sang LeeKorean language program coordinator
Associate Professor, EALC

hyoslee at indiana.edu
Goodbody Hall 229
(812) 855-8721

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As a functional linguist, I am interested in discourse-pragmatics, linguistic typology and language universals. I seek functional explanations on why languages are structured in the ways they are through the ways human beings communicate with each other. I take the view that our communicative needs and strategies shape grammar, and grammar is the fossilizaton or routinization of recurrent communicative habits and patterns.

Recently, grammaticalization is my main research area. Many grammatical constructions and forms are developed from lexical words mainly due to the creativity of the speakers, which stem mainly from two brands of motivation. One is the speaker's desire to strengthen expressive power. Abstract grammatical relations are expressed with lexical words with concrete meanings such as body parts, basic spatial and temporal concepts. The other is the need to regulate communicative transaction. Not only linguistic tools are limited to express everything the speakers want to express, but also the speakers have to convey their subjective attitudes and emotions. A creative use of a word or construction leads the communication participants to draw inference from what is said, and that usage becomes conventionalized to be associated with that particular linguistic form. Grammaticalization could take different paths, and its consequence is synchronic variation. The focus of my current research is to find a conceptual network among the different uses of a linguistic form and reconstruct the grammaticalization path.

As a Korean language instructor, I pursue active learning through contextualized instruction. Students are expected to learn from contextualized dialogues in class rather than the instructor explains the grammar from the outset. Recently I am intrigued by infinite number of possibilities of teaching and learning through web-based technology. Although I doubt that classroom interaction can entirely be removed from language teaching, current web and multimedia technology can enhance the learners' chance to be contacted with the target language in more interesting and contextualized way than textbooks. Anyone interested in seeing part of my efforts in this regard, visit http://www.indiana.edu/~korean/index.html.