Dr. Inku Kim-Marshall

Head of the Division of Korean Studies, Georgetown University

Author of books to learn Korean as a foreign language: the Korean alphabet, an elementary Korean reader, an intermediate Korean reader

Autobiographical Sketch:

I studied German Language and Literature for my BA degree at Seoul National University in Korea. I was particularly interested in modern German literature and "existential" philosophy. After my graduation in Korea, I went to Germany in order to study further. I gained my Ph.D. summa cum laude from the University of Hamburg, in Germany. My major was Comparative Education and my minors were German Modern Literature and Linguistics. Afterwards, I was a research fellow for two years at the UNESCO Institute for Education in Hamburg and was co-author of a book on curriculum for German secondary schools. At this time (1974), I also began to teach at Luneburg Teachers College, a position I held for ten years. During this period I began to read and research cultural anthropology and history to understand the roots of human cultural heritage and the development of world history. I was especially interested in the work of Arnold Toynbee and Karl Jaspers. In this context, I developed a particular interest in Korean cultural history. From 1979, I taught Korean language and culture at the Department of Asian Studies at Bochum University in Germany. Since coming to America in 1986, I have devoted myself to the development of teaching methods for Korean as a foreign language as well as creating teaching materials for presenting Korean culture to non-Korean peoples.

Korea is a country which remains relatively unexplored by scholars, even though its culture contains many hidden treasures. The Korean alphabet, "Hangul," is unique; developed consciously and systematically in the 15th century (promulgated in 1446), it is regarded by many as the world's most scientific and easy to learn writing system, being completely phonetically based.

Culturally, Korea has been the bridge between China and Japan. My interest is to propagate the study of the Korean language as a gateway to understanding the character of Korean culture and tradition, and its similarities and differences with the cultures of these neighbors.

With its central position in Eastern Asia, its links with the United States, and the potentially volatile question of Korean unification, involving all the Pacific powers, Korea holds a central place in contemporary geopolitics. Any serious study of such issues needs to be based on a firm grasp of the Korean language.

Selected publications:
  1. Korean language curriculum for Levels I - III. (Prepared 1996-1998 for the Korea Society and the Korean Cultural Center at the Korean embassy.)
  2. Montessori language teaching methods for Korean: Theory and its adaptation.
  3. The Korean alphabet: A Picture Book for Young Children.
  4. Once Upon a Time in Korea: An Elementary Reader.
  5. Cultural Readings from Folktales, Legends, and History: An Intermediate Korean Reader.
  6. Hands-on Korean teaching materials for young children.
  7. Korean teaching materials for secondary school, especially for listening comprehension and speaking.

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