Publications (Kent Lee)

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  1. Lee, K. (2021). A study on the viability of a cognitive approach to teaching articles. English Language & Literature Teaching, 26(1). [to appear].
  2. Lee, K. (2021). Evidence for 'like' as a focus marker. Language Research, 57(1). [to appear]
  3. Lee, K.(2021). Teaching articles: Addressing university students’ misconceptions. Journal of Learner-centered Curriculum and Instruction, 21(2), 1-25. http://dx.doi.org/10.22251/jlcci.2021.21.2.1 +
  4. Lee, K. (2020). Chinese ESL writers’ use of English contrastive markers. English Language Teaching, 32(4), 89-110. https://dx.doi.org/10.17936/pkelt.2020.32.4.5 +
  5. Lee, K. (2020). Definite and indefinite articles with abstract nouns in L2. Modern English Education, 21(4), 1-10. +
  6. 서창배 (Seo Chang Bae), 정세원 (Chung Sae Won), 김정환 (Kim Junghwan), Lee, Kent. (2020). 텍스트 마이닝 분석기법을 활용한 부산-상하이 도시 브랜딩 사례 연구 [A study on city branding cases of Busan-Shanghai by text-mining techniques]. 중국지역연구 [The Journal of China Area Studies],7(4), 301-326. https://doi.org/10.34243/JCAS.7.4.301 +
  7. Lee, K., & Lee, H. (2018). An EAP professional development program for graduate students in Korea. TESOL Quarterly, 52(4), 1097-1107. https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.447 *
  8. Lee, K., & Lee, H. (2018). Korean Graduate Students’ Self-perceptions of English Skills and Needs in an English-medium Instruction Context. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 39(8), 715-728. https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2018.1438442 *
  9. Lee, K. (2017). A “the” or the “a”? L2 learner problems and patterns. Korea TESOL Journal, 13(2), 25-48.
  10. Lee, K., & Lee, H. (2017). Korean graduate students' perceptions of guidance and professional development. Higher Education, 73(5), 725–740. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-016-9988-9 [Survey items, 70 MB, PDF ] *
  11. Lee, K. (2013). Right dislocation in Chinese: Interface of syntax and information structure. Korean Journal of Chinese Language and Literature, 55, 3-50. +
  12. Lee, K. (2013). Sentence stress in information structure. Oeneohag [J. Korean Ling. Soc.], 66,3-30. +
  13. Lee, K. (2013). Koreans' use of English connectors and topic management in writing. English Language Teaching, 25(2), 81-103. +
  14. Lee, K. (2013). Tonal reduplication in Kibondei. The Journal of Studies in Language, 29(1), 129-150. +
  15. Stine-Morrow, E., Shake, M., Miles, J., Lee, K., Gao, X. & McKonkie, G. (2010). Pay now or pay later: Aging and the role of boundary salience in self-regulation of conceptual integration in sentence processing. Psychology and Aging, 25, 168-176. doi:10.1037/a0018127. *
  16. Lee, K. (2009). [Book review of Brinton (2008), The comment clause in English.] Studies in Language, 33, 1004-1011. doi: 10.1075/sl.33.4.09lee.
  17. Lee, K. (2009). Phonological and semantic information used in reading Chinese characters.Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on Chinese Regional Culture and Language, Hanyang University.
  18. Lee, K. (2009). Phonological and semantic processing of Chinese characters. Dissertation, Educational Psychology Dept., University of Illinois.
  19. Lee, K. (2008). Phonological and other linguistic effects in recognition of Chinese characters. In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference of Cognitive Science (pp. 233-236). Seoul: ICCS.
  20. Lee, K. (2003). Discourse Markers 'well' and 'oh'. In Bardovi-Harlig, K. (Ed.), Teaching Pragmatics. Available online at http://americanenglish.state.gov/resources/teaching-pragmatics. US Information Agency & Indiana University.
  21. Lee, K. (2001). Teaching discourse stress to Asian students. KOTESOL Proceedings 2001, pp. 103-116.
  22. Lee, K. (2001). Focus and discourse stress. M.A. Thesis, Div. English as International Language (TESOL), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  23. Lee, K. (1997). Chinese Tone Sandhi and Prosody. M.A. Thesis, Linguistics Dept., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Notes: * SSCI/A&HCI indexed; + KCI indexed; % Scopus indexed



Abstracts

Abstracts for my linguistics articles.


Lee, K.(2021). Teaching articles: Addressing university students’ misconceptions. Journal of Learner-centered Curriculum and Instruction, 21(2), 1-20.

  • This paper reports on a pilot study of Korean college EFL learners and their learning of definite and indefinite articles, and specifically, the difficulties that students perceive and realize after the unit. To better understand their perceptions and difficulties with articles at the college level, a brief unit on articles was taught to three first-year college English classes. The unit emphasized more relatable semantic categories and patterns, rather than a traditional rule-based or overtly grammatical approach to articles. A brief survey was then administered to the students. The results of the survey showed that students were aware of general difficulties discussed in the unit, and some came to realize gaps in their understanding and misconceptions they had about article patterns. Such misconceptions were due to the complexity of the article system, and to how they were previously taught. These results can help inform other EFL teachers in teaching articles to Korean students, and in understanding their specific difficulties and potential areas of confusion.

Lee, K. (2020). Chinese ESL writers’ use of English contrastive markers. English Language Teaching, 32(4), 89-110.

  • This study explores multiple and newer methods of research on connector usage by L2 writers. L2 writing samples of Chinese ESL writers were analyzed for frequencies of contrastive connectives (but, although, though, however, yet), and compared to a corpus from native English-speaking writers. The data show that Chinese ESL writers, particularly those at the graduate level, overused but, tended to use but excessively or less formally, and used it with shorter and simpler clauses; they also tended to underuse other contrastive markers. A qualitative examination of the data also reveals more about the types of problems that these writers had with effectively using contrastive conjunctions in argumentation. The findings provide stronger empirical support and further details for findings from previous studies. This study also demonstrates a novel method of statistical analysis and mixed methods triangulation for a small corpus data set in L2 writing research, which

can be applied to larger corpora in the future. Finally, implications of these results are discussed, such as linguistic aspects of such connectors, the similar difficulties experienced by Chinese and Korean students, and the need for more attention to connectors in ESL/EFL writing, as increasingly more Chinese students attend Korean universities.


Lee, K. (2020). Definite and indefinite articles with abstract nouns in L2. Modern English Education, 21(4), 1-10.

  • Past studies have examined the problems that learners have with English definite, indefinite, and zero articles, particularly for learners whose L1 lacks an article system, such as Korean. Many of the empirical and theoretical studies of article acquisition have examined particular error types and types of nouns that are more problematic. In doing so, they have typically focused on more concrete nouns to the exclusion of abstract nouns. Abstract nouns tend to be used without articles, i.e., as bare nouns, a fact that learners may be aware of. However, such nouns can sometimes be used with articles for a more specific nuance. This study examines the difficulties that abstract nouns might pose for learners, as standard article rules may be unhelpful, especially for less familiar nouns. For this study, a linguistic survey with more abstract nouns was administered. The results showed that they had difficulties with more abstract noun patterns (as measured by semantic indices), and their difficulties were also affected by lexical frequency and complex noun phrases. Article patterns for more abstract nouns can be difficult to learn and teach, as their nuances can vary according to context. Some suggestions are sketched out for teaching such noun patterns.


Lee, K., & Lee, H. (2018). An EAP professional development program for graduate students in Korea. TESOL Quarterly. https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.447

  • Preparing future faculty or professional development programs have developed to prepare graduate students for academic and non-academic careers, and have become commonplace in some countries. In other countries such as South Korea, they are relatively new, and have to also encompass other needs beyond those covered in traditional programs in Western countries, particularly academic English issues. This paper describes a professional development program focusing on English for academic purposes (EAP) for graduate students created at one university in South Korea. An analysis of the program thus far, and students’ professional and language needs, especially within the context of English-medium instruction at this university are discussed. Our survey data indicate that graduate students in Korea face several challenges in English academic communication skills that are not dealt with in graduate school training. Results also show the advantages of the EAP professional development program, and indicate specific areas that universities in Korea and other English as a foreign language contexts need to address in preparing graduate students in English communication skills for their studies, research, and future professional or academic careers.
  • Keywords: graduate students, professional development, English-medium instruction, Korea


Lee, K., & Lee, H. (2018). Korean Graduate Students’ Self-perceptions of English Skills and Needs in an English-medium Instruction Context. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2018.1438442

  • Universities in East Asia are increasingly adopting English-medium instruction (EMI) to enhance their global competitiveness. Yet little research has been conducted on the impact of English on graduate students in this context, as past research has mostly examined undergraduates. This survey study investigates graduate students at a major university in Korea where EMI is increasingly common, specifically probing their self-perceptions for academic English skills, preferred language learning strategies, and intrinsic motivation to learn and use English. The results indicate correlations between strategy use, efficacy, and intrinsic motivation. They also show limitations in the graduate students’ academic English skills, and shortcomings in their training for English-related tasks. The results show how English and EMI affect graduate students, and also raise some questions about EMI at the graduate school level. Limitations need to be addressed for these students, who will enter academic and professional careers in the global marketplace that demand greater English expertise.
  • Keywords: Language proficiency, Korea, graduate students, learning strategies, motivation, efficacy


Lee, K. (2017). A “the” or the “a”? L2 learner problems and patterns. Korea TESOL Journal, 13(2), 25-48. (Available upon request; please email the author.)

  • While definite and indefinite articles, and bare nouns with no articles have long proved to be notoriously problematic for Koreans and other English learners whose L1 lacks such a grammatical system, seemingly little progress has been made. Learners still struggle with these, and teachers often lack the linguistic awareness and resources for teaching them. Part of the problem is the traditional rule-based approaches to grammar that students have been subjected to, while our lack of linguistic understanding is another obstacle. More recent approaches in linguistics offer some new tools for investigating these grammatical conundrums. In this study, L1 and L2 essay corpora are compared, with an analysis that is guided by a cognitive linguistic approach to types of noun phrases. This approach leads to a unique way to understand, teach, and explain article and noun patterns, while it also leads to ways of breaking up these contents into manageable chunks, and some specific interactive classroom activities and tasks that can target specific noun phrase patterns and functions.
  • Keywords: definite and indefinite articles, determiners, noun phrases, cognitive linguistics, communicative language teaching


Lee, K., & Lee, H. (2017). Korean graduate students' perceptions of guidance and professional development. Higher Education, 73(5), 725–740. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-016-9988-9

  • Past studies have indicated shortcomings in the training of graduate students in the US, especially for practical career skills, teaching skills, and non-academic careers. Students thus find professional development and guidance lacking for the demands of the modern marketplace. This study extends this research to the unique situation of current graduate students in Korea, who represent an under-studied population and face further challenges from the demands of internationalization. From survey data at one representative university, this study examines (1) whether Korean graduate students feel that they receive sufficient guidance, training, and support for professional development and (2) whether Korean graduate students feel prepared for specific academic and professional careers and career skills. Additionally, English skills, motivation, and other factors are examined. Various shortcomings in these areas are reported, which parallel those found in the US, while unique problems also arise from the demands of English for academic and professional purposes. Korean graduate students require additional support and professional development programs to address these shortcomings.
  • Note: The publisher does not allow archiving of the final published article on personal websites, so only the pre-publication draft is available here. If you need the final published version, please contact me.


Lee, K. (2013). Right dislocation in Chinese: Interface of syntax and information structure. Korean Journal of Chinese Language and Literature, 55, 3-50.

  • While forms of left dislocation and topicalization serve topic management functions, the status and function of right dislocation are less clear. Various studies have treated it as afterthought, a repair device, a focus marking device, or a form of illocutionary emphasis. However, the Chinese data (Mandarin and Cantonese) also pose particular problems for structural analysis, as these forms in Chinese exhibit violations of syntactic integrity and coreferentiality. Previous syntactic and pragmatic analyses only partially explain their structure or use, but a more comprehensive explanation of both has been lacking. This paper examines the roles of syntax and information structure, and proposes a more unified pragmatic explanation, with a refined model of information structure. Right dislocation phrases are treated as a form of minor or secondary information, with their coherence deriving from pragmatics. Specifically, these phrases follow constraints of an information structure hierarchy, which accounts for their structural integrity.


Lee, K. (2013). Sentence stress in information structure. Oeneohag [Journal of the Korean Linguistic Society], 66,3-30.

  • A typical English utterance is marked with a sentence stress, that is, a prominence on one word or syllable that is greater than other lexical stresses in the clause or utterance. This stress consists of a pitch prominence that demarcates the intonational phrase. An Optimality Theory analysis of sentence stress is presented here, which integrates insights from the generative and applied linguistic approaches under one framework. Sentence stress is explained in terms of the interactions between prosodic structure, stress, syntax, and information structure, that is, stress assignment on the main focus or most prominent information. The constraints and constraint interactions can explain some non-canonical stress types that are not handled so well by traditional generative approaches, and also address some stress patterns and linguistic structures that functional accounts do not address. The Optimality framework can explain this interface of different linguistic domains, and this interface can better explain the behavior of English sentence stress.


Lee, K. (2013). Koreans' use of English connectors and topic management in writing. English Language Teaching, 25(2), 81-103.

  • Some previous studies have examined the use of connectors by second language writers of English, particularly studies comparing connector usage of L2 and native English writers. This study does so with corpora of written essays, comparing the frequency of connector usage between native English writers from the U.S. and U.K., and English essays by Korean ESL learners in the US. The statistical comparisons used here also offer some refinements over previous corpus studies. The Korean writers overused and underused various connectors compared to the native writers, specifically in their use of contrastive markers, topic transitionals, there is and there are, markers for enumerating sequences, and exemplifiers. They also certain expressions used incorrectly as connectors due to apparent transfer errors. These data indicate a number of issues for ESL/EFL writing teachers to address, and some suggestions for teaching are discussed below.


Lee, K. (2013). Tonal reduplication in Kibondei. The Journal of Studies in Language, 29(1), 129-150.

  • This paper examines the tonal system of Kibondei, a Rantu language and its tonal and reduplication patterns. The appearance of otherwise unrealized tones from verb stems that spread onto adjacent materials is first discussed. Then reduplication patterns are examined, which exhibit some unusual tone shifting patterns. These are explained within the framework of Optimality Theory, with constraints on segments, tones and morphemes. Finally, implications of tone systems for Optimality Theory and the interface of different linguistic components are briefly discussed, as these hint at interesting and possible interpretations of Optimality Theory.