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Undergraduates of English Language and Literature and Library and Information Science majors published an SSCI paper 2023.12.15
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Undergraduate student majoring in English Language and Literature and Library and Information Science, published an SSCI paper (supervised by Professor Na-yeon Kim)


▲ (from left) Ziying Li, a doctoral student, Professor Na-yeon Kim,  Chaejin Lee (English Language and Literature),  Seong-hyun Byun  (Library and Information Science)


The research paper led by Professor Na-yeon Kim of the Department of English Language and Literature, titled "Zero-derivation in Korean: the effect of covert structure in real-time processing," has been published in the December issue of the SSCI journal 'Frontiers in Psychology: Psychology Of Language.'


The paper explores the linguistic and cognitive aspects of words with ambiguous grammatical categories, revealing their subtle syntactic structures through both linguistic and cognitive psychological methodologies.

Notably, this paper holds significant meaning as it is a collaborative effort, not only involving Ziying Li, a doctoral student, but also featuring contributions from undergraduate students, Chae-jin Lee, a third-year English Language and Literature major, and Seong-hyun Byun, a fourth-year student majoring in Library and Information Science.


The research focuses on the phenomenon of 'zero-derivation' in Korean. For instance, in Korean, the word '밝다' ('bright') can be used both as an adjective and a verb. While previous studies have explored the phenomenon of adjectives and verbs sharing grammatical categories, there has been no experimental study determining whether such categories are distinct or if the verb '밝다' derives from the adjective '밝다.' This study analyzes the process by which the verb '밝다' is derived from the adjective '밝다' through cognitive psychological methodologies. It reveals that we can easily understand sentences by being sensitive to the unseen syntactic structures and the derivation process of grammatical categories.


The study suggests that sentences with omitted words, i.e., those not visible or audible, also possess delicate and intricate syntactic structures. Humans can recognize these structures, enabling them to quickly comprehend sentences involving omissions. The research team is currently collaborating with professors from foreign language departments at the University of Toronto, Northwestern University, and the National University of Singapore to systematize various syntactic experiments that elucidate the interaction mechanism between these subtle syntactic structures and cognitive processes. Additionally, ongoing research at our university's Artificial Intelligence Convergence Institute, led by Professor Kwang-soo Kim, explores whether artificial intelligence can acquire these unique language characteristics exhibited by humans.

Professor Na-yeon Kim expressed, "It's commendable that two undergraduate research students and a doctoral student have passionately contributed to this research for over a year, dedicating weekends. In the future, I plan to further expand opportunities for collaborative research with students in the field of interdisciplinary research between English language and cognitive psychology through the Language and Cognition Lab."


※ Author: Kim, N., Li, Z., Byeon, S., & Lee, C.

※ Title: Zero-derivation in Korean: The Effect of Covert Structure in Real-time Processing.

※ Journal: Frontiers in Psychology,14, 1230927

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