The University of Hawaii Press has just published Jejueo: The Language of Korea’s Jeju Island, co-authored by Changyong Yang (adjunct professor), Sejung Yang (PhD graduate, 2018) and William O’Grady (professor of linguistics). This long-awaited book tells the story of a language that has gone unrecognized for too long and is now in grave peril. Once the island’s primary variety of speech, Jejueo currently has only a few thousand fluent speakers and has been classified by UNESCO as critically endangered.
The book, which is the first comprehensive treatment of Jejueo in English, offers both an introduction to the language and an in-depth survey of its grammar, supplemented with hundreds of examples. The authors present a provocative new picture of linguistic diversity in East Asia, undermining the centuries-old belief that Korea is home to a single language and making the case for a new language policy in that nation.