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A brief stroll about the cityscape of South Korea (henceforth ‘Korea’) testifies to Curtin's (2014) presumptive cosmopolitanism, whereby locals are expected to possess a high degree of competence in linguistically accommodating newcomers or world travellers by using English or other international languages in the linguistic landscape. One can easily spot English monolingual, Korean–English bilingual, and multilingual signs for ‘advertising billboards, street names, place names, commercial shop[s] and . . . government buildings’ (Landry & Bourhis, 1997: 25), helping visitors and new arrivals negotiate the environment without being literate in the local language, Korean. The current English-flooded linguistic landscape of urban areas is well described in J. S. Lee's (2016) study, in which an elderly interviewee confirms, ‘[E]verywhere you go, you see English – banks, markets, and things. When we go shopping these days, brand names and street signs are all in English’ (331).
The newly renovated Seoul Express Bus Terminal, which reopened at the end of 2019, has caused an uproar among the South Korean public. The fact that its ticket booth sign is written only in English – ‘TICKETS’ – was pointed out by one Twitter user (see Figure 1), and the message went viral among internet users. It took only a week or so for the issue to make headlines in Yonhap News – one of the major news agencies in South Korea (hereafter ‘Korea’) that provides news articles and pictures for newspapers, TV networks, and online media. The news article criticised that not only the ticket booth sign but also the sign of a nearby drug store is written exclusively in English – ‘pharmacy’.
This paper identifies discrepancies between prescriptive grammar rules concerning the number of the indefinite pronoun none and the actual use of this pronoun in modern academic English as shown in the Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English (MICASE) and Michigan Corpus of Upper-level Student Papers (MICUSP). Whereas prescriptive rules state that the number of none is determined by its referent or by the user's desired effect, the analyses of the MICASE and MICUSP search results suggest that, regardless of the modality of discourse, (1) the number of none with an anaphoric referent is determined by the number of its referent and (2) the principle of proximity applies without exception when none is used as part of a ‘none of + singular noun/pronoun’ phrase and applies frequently but not always when followed by an ‘of + plural noun/pronoun’ phrase.
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