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New Ways to Study the Korean Language

  • February 15, 2012
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An Interview with Professor Marc Duval - the first foreign professor at SNU's dept. of Korean Language and Literature.

Professor Marc Duval's pictures on campus

Last year, Professor Marc Duval received attention from the media and the SNU community because he was the first foreign professor to be appointed in the Department of Korean Language and Literature. After finishing his first semester at SNU, he shared his thoughts on his course and his field.

Editor | Please introduce yourself.
Duval | I was born in the suburbs of Paris. My family moved around a lot because of my father's job. I graduated from the University of Strasbourg and received my PhD in Linguistics from Sorbonne University (Universite de Paris IV). Before I came to Korea, I was a lecturer at the University of Zurich in Switzerland for 8 years.

Editor | You taught the fall semester course"The Korean Language" last year. How was your first semester as a professor at SNU?
Duval | There were some unexpected happenings during my first class. I had originally thought that the course was only for students in the Department of Korean Language and Literature. I was surprised to find out that the course was actually intended for students from other departments and foreign students. So I had to change the contents of my lecture accordingly. I tried to deliver general information about the history, phonetics, grammar and vocabulary of the Korean language.

Professor Duval is teaching SNU students Also, I remember there was an unwelcome visitor on the first day of class. A reporter from some newspaper was there, and later I was surprised to find that people knew my name as"Ma Hoo Jok", not"Marc Duval" because of an article that the reporter had published.

Editor | What made you interested in Korea and the Korean language in the first place?
Duval | When I was an undergraduate student, I met some older Asian classmates and we became friends. This is when I tasted Korean food for the first time. I didn't know how to speak Korean then, but thanks to my Asian friends I learned several Korean expressions. I still remember learning phrases like"kka bul lae?" (an expression similar in meaning with"Don't mess with me.").

Editor | Could you elaborate on your academic interests?
Duval | I wish to continue focusing on the diversity of languages. I'm interested in how one language differs from another. Every time one compares Korean with another language, whether it be English or Medieval Korean, one can find useful and noteworthy facts about the Korean language.

Editor | Is there anything you wish to tell SNU students? Students living in the era of globalization can benefit from your inter-cultural experience.
Duval | As we all know, in the cultural sense, the word"globalization" implies getting easy access to other cultures while undermining cultural diversity. Personally, I don't believe that it's necessary to globalize universities. The word"university" itself is related to the word"universe". If we keep in mind that universities were not built for the purpose of teaching and learning what we already know, universities are inherently the best places to bring out the good of globalization.
Professor Marc Duval will be teaching the course"The Korean Language" again this spring semester.

Written by JANG Hyo Jeong, SNU English Editor, fatalbonds@snu.ac.kr  ?
Reviewed by Eli Park Sorensen, SNU Professor of Liberal Studies, eps7257@snu.ac.kr
Proofread by Brett Johnson, SNU English Editor, morningcalm2@gmail.com
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