[skip to content]

Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea

Youkyung Ju

BA (Sookmyung Women’s University), MSc (Edinburgh)


Youkyung Ju
Centre of Korean Studies

Research Fellow

Youkyung Ju
Email address:
Thesis title:
Typological Universals of Relative Clauses with Reference to Korean as a Foreign Language


Prior to coming to SOAS, Youkyung taught Korean to foreign students at Sogang University in Korea. Additionally, she was the lead translator for a series of Sogang Korean textbooks, levels 1A to 3B.
Youkyung earned her MSc in Applied Linguistics from the University of Edinburgh in 2005. Prior to this, she received two BAs from Sookmyung Women’s University: in Korean Language and Literature, and English Language and Literature.

PhD Research

My primary research interests lie in language typology, comparative aspects of grammar, and computer-assisted language experiments. I am currently working on the applicability of typological universals of relative clauses, such as the Noun Phrase Accessibility Hierarchy (NPAH), to Korean as a first language (L1) and a second language (L2).

Cross-linguistically, languages allow different noun functions to be relativized, forming an implicational hierarchy, so-called ‘Noun Phrase Accessibility Hierarchy (NPAH)’ (Keenan and Comrie, 1977). In linguistic typology, it seems that general consensus has been reached regarding the effects of the NPAH on the acquisition of relative clauses in European languages.

However, Comrie (1996, 1998, 2002) proposed a new typology that argues that noun-modifying clauses in East Asian languages (e.g. Korean, Japanese and Chinese) are qualitatively different from those in European languages. He maintained that these East Asian languages do not have relative clauses with a gap but, rather, have attributive clauses, which involve simply attaching modifying clauses to the head noun. In light of Comrie’s new typology of noun-modifying clauses, recent studies on East Asian languages have so far shown conflicting results (Tarallo & Myhill 1983; Matthews & Yip 2002; O’Grady, Lee & Choo 2003; Ozeki & Shirai 2007; Jeon & Kim 2007).

Accordingly, the primary aim of my research is to reconsider the typological universals of relative clauses (RCs) with reference to Korean as a foreign language, and to explore how morpho-syntactic and pragmatic aspects of East Asian noun-modifying clauses intersect with typological universals. I have developed three different types of computer-assisted grammar tests on Korean RCs and tested the typological universals of RCs in L1 and L2 Korean with typologically different L1 backgrounds (English, Japanese and Chinese).

I am supervised by Dr Jaehoon Yeon (SOAS), Professor Peter Sells (York), and Dr Noriko Iwasaki (SOAS).