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Korean Grammar as a Resource for the Organization of Attention and Action in Instructions


This dissertation examines the role of a specific Korean deictic, ilehkey (‘like this,’ ‘this way’), in organizing participants’ attention in a situated activity. Deictic expressions in English, such as this, that, here, and there are terms which point out referential objects in connection with surrounding context (Hanks, 2009). Because of ilehkey’s efficacy in organizing gaze, it proves

vital to creating the “moving focus of cognitive and visual attention” which lies at the center of face-to-face interaction (Goffman, 1964).

Using video data collected during cooking instruction conducted in Korean, the study argues that the deictic expression functions precisely to link language simultaneously to the bodies of actors and the world they are creating in the activity. Specifically, I illustrate 1) how participants build actions that incorporate deictic expressions, gesture, prosody and objects in the local environment, and 2) how participants decompose, reuse and transform the actions and materials from previous turns.

The current study contributes to interactional studies by analyzing the function and the organization of deictic terms in two contexts: 1) within a framework that is not restricted to the stream of speech, but instead illustrates how the deictic emerges from and reconstitutes the specific changing contextual configurations of bodies, objects and language, and 2) from a crosslinguistic


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