A Conversation with the Professor:
Professor Kim, Seongje
by Lee, Joowon (Student Reporter)
To find out more about the Department of English Langauge and Literature, we met with Professor Kim, Seongje who is currently serving as head of the Department.
Q. Please define for our readers what English Language and Literature is.
English Literature is an art that is expressed through language. On the inside, the contents contain humanities, history, and philosophy. In other words, English Literature is a combination of art and the humanities. On the other hand, English Language refers to English Linguistics, which is a scientific study of the English language itself. In the Department of English Language and Literature, students can receive a thorough education of the
language itself and works using the language by studying both literature and linguistics.
To give a brief history of English education in Korea, it began as a cultural learning of the United States and England during the last stage of Chosun Dynasty. People were not interested in learning the literature at that time. However, in order to acquire the language of English, they needed some kind of text. As the most reliable source was literary work, mere learning of cultural background progressed to an intense study of English novels.
With the increase of Korean professors who receive master's degree in the United States or England and native professors teaching in Korean universities, the subject is advancing day by day.
Q. What makes HYU's Department of English Language and Literature special?
A. As Hanyang University takes great importance on the practicality of education, our division aims to focus on practical English. In order to gain competency in the global market, honing professional English communication skills is the most fundamental yet difficult task ahead of us. Therefore, along with English Literature and Linguistic studies, our division provides English communication courses where students can polish their speaking skills.
Moreover, I can proudly say that Hanyang University's Linguistics department is the best in the country. Under Professor Cho Tae Hong, the Phonetics and Psycholinguistics Laboratory has been conducting numerous studies and produced outstanding results.
Q. What are your plans for the further development of the Department?
A. For learners of English language and literature, it is vital for them to get a chance to actually visit English speaking countries. Therefore, we are currently putting various efforts in upgrading student exchange programs. What we are promoting right at this time is a dual degree program with Oregon University. The project is almost completed. Soon students will be able to study at both universities for some year and receive degrees from each.
Q. What do you think is the potential of English Literature and Language majors in the global society?
A. Korea needs talents that can speak and write "educated English". From my point of view, "educated English" is a very advanced level of English that is used by well educated natives. English skills in this level have nothing to do with TOEIC or TOEFL scores. This is due to the fact that Korean commerce with other countries is done at a high level. Whereas in the past trading products were simple such as wigs, the issues involving trade
in the modern society is intricate and complex. Sometimes it involves an intangible subject such as gas emission tickets or information. By studying English literature, linguistics, and professional English, English majors can provide such "educated English" that the society demands.