An invitation to write an encyclopedia entry entitled ‘English Today (journal)’ for The Encyclopedia of World Englishes (expected in 2022) afforded us the opportunity to review all 36 published volumes of English Today to look for trends, developments and changes in the journal. There is much that has changed over the past 36 years of publication, but ET's commitment to publishing high-quality academic research on the current and developing state of English internationally has not.
The current issue carries on that commitment in the same way that some of the earliest issues of English Today sought to highlight current and developing issues, by collecting them into a themed issue. The current issue is comprised of eight papers that describe various aspects of English in Korea. Each of the eight papers was submitted independently to the journal for review without solicitation and their inclusion in this themed issue is evidence of the growing attention given to English in Korea.
Two papers explore the presence of English in Korea's linguistic landscape and the motivations that both support and resist the increasing visibility of English, as well as calls to purify the linguistic landscape. Eun–Young (Julia) Kim introduces the issues related to the increasing use of English and its effect upon the Korean language and explores nearly 2000 online comments to a news article published in late 2018. Sugene Kim broadens the scope of examination by investigating more than 1000 internet comments from several sources. Both studies identify sources of strong resistance to public uses of English, especially when Korean is not included. Finally, Jinhyun Cho examines the historical origins of Korea's English fever – a phenomenon described several times in English Today over the past 20 years (see Jeong, Reference Jeong2004; Park, Reference Park2009) – and the possible impact that the English language has had in marginalizing Korean identity.
Four papers explore educational issues related to English in Korea. Hohsung Choe and Youngjoo Seo investigate the experiences of English language teachers of African ethnicity (most of whom are African American) through videos that they have posted online. Kang–Young Lee and Randy Green examine university student attitudes toward Korean English. Youngjoo Seo introduces the drive to teach English to children at younger and younger ages in Korea through the movement of eommapyo Yeongeo ‘maternal English education’ and the consequences of non-native English-speaking parents’ attempts to raise children who are bilingual native speakers of English and Korean. Finally, Eun–Young Jang and Eun–Yong Kim describe the challenges that refugees from North Korea face in learning English once they arrive in South Korea.
This themed issue on English in Korea closes with Hyejong Ahn and Jieun Kaier's discussion of Korean words that have spread globally through K-pop and the likely effect these words might have had on English. Finally, Alfred Buregeya reviews Corpus Linguistics and African Englishes.