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Realities and hope of kisaengs in the early 20th century -The using with the concept of cognitive linguistic metaphor-

  • The Research of the Korean Classic
  • 2009, (20), pp.109-139
  • Publisher : The Research Of The Korean Classic
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature > Korean Literature > Korean classic prose

강소영 1

1이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The objective of this study is to find metaphorical expressions related to kisaengs in Janghan and, based on them, to examine how kisaengs were perceived in those days. As a result of change in the kisaeng system, kisaengs in the early 20th century were different from those in the previous ages. With the emergence of the concept of material ownership under capitalism, kisaengs began to regard their entertainment service as a job and to defend their labor activities actively against people’s contempt and branding them as immoral. This is evidenced clearly by kisaengs’ writings published in Magazine Janghan, which represented their own voices, rather than by the images of kisaengs represented by others’ voice as in individuals’ collections or literary works. In this study, we classified metaphorical expressions on kisaengs in the magazine, and compared them with metaphorical expressions describing kisaengs in other magazines and newspapers in those days. According to the results of this study, kisaengs were expressed as flowers, toys, lowly people or animals in both groups, and these perceptions were a natural consequence of the history of kisaengs, who were no more than a sport and slave to literati. In the language used in daily life, however, kisaengs raised their own voice, asserting that those who called kisaengs devils were actually the devils and grieving that they were dragged like livestock by those who criticized kisaengs as noxious insects. In addition, through the metaphor [A kisaeng is an incomplete human], they clarified directly that what kisaengs desired earnestly was being recognized as a human equal to others, and maintained through the metaphor [Kisaengs’ life is a war] that they would fight for winning it. To know is one thing and to show that the knowledge has been settled in our language as a customary metaphor is another. When we analyze how kisaengs are described in customary metaphors, in particular, predicates, we can see that their voices hidden under locutionary meanings are leaking unceasingly between the lines. This may be what kisaengs wanted to say to people through Janghan and, accordingly, this is the meaning of analyzing texts with the concept of cognitive linguistic metaphor.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.