First Advisor

Susan Conrad

Date of Publication


Document Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Teaching English as a Second Language




Korea -- Textbooks -- Analysis, Korea -- Textbooks -- Evaluation, Critical discourse analysis, Korea -- Social life and customs, Sociolinguistics, English language -- Study and teaching -- Foreign speakers



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, v, 83 pages) : illustrations


The purpose of his study was to investigate cultural values and beliefs embedded in high school English textbooks currently used in Korea. Specifically, this study addressed the following questions: (1) What Korean cultural values and beliefs are conveyed to youth in high school English textbooks? (2) How do the textbooks' discourse and visuals convey these messages?

For the study, five reading textbooks approved by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Korea, were analyzed. Critical discourse analysis (CDA) was adopted as a main approach to investigate what cultural values and beliefs were presented in the selected chapters in these textbooks. The texts were analyzed as a whole, then on the sentence levels, and the word level. First, the themes in the chapters were examined and discussed by looking at narratives, images, and the choice of certain vocabulary. For the further analysis of linguistic features in the texts, the Mood systems, modality, and the use of personal pronouns were investigated.

Four themes were found to convey what the authors or Korean society value and believe as ideal objectives for Korean youth: pursuing a successful life, getting a good job, having a positive mind and persistence, and mastering English for a career purpose. In addition, certain images and word choices supported and strengthened the authors' view on the topic. The analysis also revealed that certain linguistic features contributed authority and certainty to the authors: the frequent use of imperative and declarative mood, the frequent use of modal verbs expressing a strong degree of certainty, and the use of certain personal pronouns that established the relationship between the authors and the readers. The study shows that the texts situate the reader (Korean youths) in a position where they are expected to conform to social norms, restrain themselves, and remain blindly optimistic while ignoring their own interest, curiosities, and critical thoughts.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


This thesis is only available to students, faculty and staff at PSU.

Persistent Identifier