Exploring Authority and Gender in English Language Learners’ Online Communications
Abstract: This study examines authority and gender in the online communications of an English medium South Korean high school. Authority and gender relationships in this context focus on the importance of culture that emphasizes hierarchy. This study found that cultural hierarchy still shapes and affects the authority relationships in the English-medium school. Particularly important in this study is the role of language in shaping and affecting the relationships. The finding indicates that there is a gender difference in the way the students play their subordinate role. Compared to the boys in the study, the strategies used by the girls were more bounded by the rules of the class and the Korean custom, thereby giving them a limited space in which to maneuver. The study also found that the status and tone of the English language allowed the students to feel less subjugated than Korean.