Dr Jieun Kiaer

Senior Research Fellow and Tutor in Oriental Studies

Oriental Studies

Jieun was an undergraduate and graduate student at Seoul National University where she studied Linguistics. She received her PhD in 2007 from King’s College London.

Undergraduate teaching 

Jieun lectures in the Oriental Studies Faculty on Korean Grammar; the History and Structure of Korean; Language and Identity; Introduction on Korean Linguistics. She also lectures on Empirical Syntax in the Faculty for Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics.

Postgraduate teaching 

Jieun supervises research students within Korean language and linguistics, in the Oriental Studies Faculty and in the Faculty for Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics.


Jieun’s research focuses on the nature of syntactic motivations. In her recent book Pragmatic Syntax (to be published in 2013), she argued that the fundamental syntactic motivation is pragmatic in nature Mainly based on a large corpus investigation, this book aims to show that linguistic structures have been built and are built in order to maximise the efficiency of human communication and at the same time to meet expressive goals, adding different dimensions of meaning to the proposition. Jieun also works on the role of prosody in syntactic realisation. For this, she is investigating the Sejong Spoken Korean Corpus along with Korea University Spoken Corpus in collaboration with Jiyoung Shin from Korea University.

Jieun is also actively engaged in developing textbooks for Korean language and linguistics. Her book (co-authored with Jiyoung Shin and Jaeun Chaa) The Sounds of Korean is to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2012 Autumn.  She has a number of other projects on this as shown in the list below.


1) 2008. (with Ruth Kempson and Ronnie Cann) 'Periphery effects and the dynamics of tree growth'. In B Shaer, P Cook, W Frey and C Maienborn (eds.) Dislocation: syntactic, semantic and discourse perspectives. Routledge, pp. 141-170.

2) 2008. (with Ruth Kempson) Processing Left Peripheral NPI in Korean: At the Syntax, Semantics and Phonology Interface, 16th Japanese/Korean Linguistics, edited by Takubo, Y, CSLI, University of Chicago, pp.372-391.

3) 2009, (with Ruth Kempson), Japanese scrambling: the dynamics of on-line processing. Chapter 1 of Hoshi. H (ed.). The Dynamics and Mechanism of Language: Perspectives from Linguistics and Cognitive Neuroscience pp. 5-45. Kuroshio Press: Tokyo

6) 2010, (with Ruth Kempson), Multiple long-distance scrambling: Syntax as reflections of processing. Journal of Linguistics, 46, pp 127-192

7) 2010, On the Meaning and Distribution of TUL in Korean: Evidence from Corpora. Language Research 46.2, pp. 257-272.

8) 2010, Multiple –ka Construction and Performance-Grammar Correspondence, Proceedings of Second European Conference in Korean Linguistics, Lincom Europa, pp. 114-125.

9) 2011,  Word Order Variation in Korean, in Kempson, R., Gregoromichelaki, E. and Howes, C. (eds) . The  Dynamics of Lexical Interfaces. CSLI Publications, pp. 165-204.

10) 2012  October, The Sounds of Korean (co-author Prof Jiyoung Shin and Prof Jaeun Cha), Cambridge University Press.

11) forthcoming/2013, Pragmatic Syntax, in Bloomsbury Studies in Theoretical Linguistics, Continuum.

12) Survey of Korean Language, Book manuscript. To be submitted to Lincom Europa in Dec 2011.

13) 2013, (with Jaehoon Yeon and Lucien Brown), Korean Graded Reader, Routledge Graded Modern Language Readers, Routledge.

14) 2012, Non-accidental word-order variation in Korean and Its Implications Towards

Grammar, published in the Studies in Japanese and Korean Linguistics, Lincom Europa.

15) forthcoming, Why left-to-right? the case of Korean, to be included in Derivational Directions

(editor, Cristiano Chesi), to be published by Elsevier.

16) 2013/forthcoming, Korean Verbs (with Dongsik Lim) to be published by the University of Hawaii Press.