Narrative structures in Korean folktales: A comparative analysis of Korean and English versions

Open access


A narrative is a sequence of connected events arranged by a narrator. Folktales are a genre of narrative stories that every cultural community possesses. They have spread through verbal storytelling rather than written formal texts and reflect cultural beliefs, cultural identity, traditions and social customs. In this paper, I comparatively analyse the narrative structure of two versions of Korean folktale stories: the original Korean version and their English versions rewritten by American writers. The results of the analysis reveal that a modification in narrative structure occurs during the process of trans-creating folktales into a different language to appeal to a target audience that has a different cultural background. The results of my analysis show that the story schemata of folktale stories and story patterns vary between cultures, reflecting the different cultural orientation of each audience.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • BASSNETT S. and LEFEVERE A. 1990. Translation history and culture. London: Printer Publishers.

  • BHABHA H. K. 2004. The location of culture. London: Routledge Classics.

  • BREMOND C.1977. The morphology of the French fairy tale: The ethical model. In: H. Jason and D. Segal eds. Patterns in oral literature. The Hague Paris: Mouton pp. 49-76.

  • CARROLL P. 1981. Cultural-specific schemata in L2 comprehension. In: R.A. Orem and J.F. Haskell eds. Selected Papers from the 9th Illinois TESOL Annual Convention and the First Midwest TESOL Conference. Chicago. IL TESOL pp. 123-132.

  • CHAFE W. 1982. Integration and involvement in speaking writing and oral literature. In: D. Tannen ed. Spoken and written language. Norwood NJ: Ablex pp. 35-54.

  • CHATMAN S. 1978. Story and discourse: Narrative structure in fiction and film. Ithaca London: Cornell University Press.

  • CONNOR U. 1998. Contrastive rhetoric New York: Cambridge University Press.

  • DOLEZEL L. 1978. Narrative modalities. In: T. Eaton ed. Essays in literary semantics. Heidelberg: Groos pp. 93-102.

  • DRORY R. 1977. Ali Baba and the forty thieves: An attempt at a model for the narrative structure of the reward-and punishment fairy tale. In: H. Jason and D. Segal eds. Patterns in oral literature. The Hague and Paris: Mouton pp. 31-48

  • DUNDES A. 1971. The making and breaking of friendship as a structural frame in African folktales. In: P. Maranda and E. K. Maranda eds. Structural analysis of oral tradition. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press pp. 171-185.

  • GRAYSON J. H. 2002. The Hǔngbu and Nolbu tale Type: A Korean double contrastive Narrative structure. Folklore vol. 113 no. 1 pp. 51-69.

  • HATCH E. 1992. Discourse and language education. New York: Cambridge University Press.

  • HOLMS J. 2003. Why tell stories: Contrasting themes and identities in the narratives of Maori and Pakeha women and men. In: S. F. Kiesling and C. B. Paulston eds. Intercultural discourse and communication. San Francisco: Blackwell Publishing pp. 110-134.

  • HUDSON J. A. and SHAPIRO. L. R. 1991. From knowing to telling: The development of children’s script stories and personal narratives. In: A. McCabe and C. Peterson eds. Developing narrative structure. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publisher pp. 89-136.

  • IDE S. 2005. How and why honorifics signify dignity and elegance. In: R. Lakoff and S. Ide eds. Broadening the horizon of linguistic politeness. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamin Publishing Company pp. 45-64.

  • JANDT F. E. 2010. An introduction to intercultural communication: Identities in a global community. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

  • JASON H. 1977. A model for narrative structure in oral literature. In: H. Jason & D. Sega eds. Patterns in oral literature. The Hague and Paris: Mouton pp. 99-140.

  • JIN L. and CORTAZZI L. 1998. The culture the learner brings: a bridge or a barrier? In: M. Bryam and M. Fleming eds. Language learning in intercultural perspectives. New York: Cambridge University Press pp. 84-97.

  • KLUCKHOHN F. R. and STRODTBECK F. L. 1961. Variations in value orientations. Evanston: Peterson Row.

  • LABOV W. 1972. The Transformation of experience in narrative syntax. In: Language in the inner city. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press pp. 354-396.

  • LABOV W. and WALETZKY J. 1967. Narrative analysis. In: J. Helm ed. Essays on the verbal and visual arts. Seattle: University of Washington Press pp. 12-44.

  • LONGACRE R. E. 1981. A spectrum and profile approach discourse analysis. Text vol. 1 pp. 337-359.

  • LU X. 1998. Rhetoric in ancient China fifth to third century B. C. E.: A comparison with classical Greek rhetoric. Columbia SC: University of South Carolina Press.

  • LWIN S. M. 2010. Narrative structures in Burmese folk tales. Amherst NY: Cambria Press.

  • MANDLER J. M. 1978. A code in the node: the use of story schema in retrieval. Discourse Processes vol. 1 pp. 14-35.

  • MANDLER J. M. SCRIBNER S. COLE M. and DEFOREST M. 1980. Cross-cultural invariance in story recall. Child Development vol. 51 pp. 19-26.

  • MAO L. R. 1994. Beyond politeness theory: Face revisited and renewed. Journal of Pragmatics vol. 21 pp. 451-486.

  • MATSUYAMA U. K. 1983. Can story grammar speak Japanese? The Reading Teacher vol. 36 pp. 215-233.

  • MCCABE A. and PETERSON C. 1991. Preface: Structure as a way of understanding. In: A. McCabe and C. Peterson eds. Developing narrative structure. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publisher pp. IX-XVII.

  • MUHAWI I. 1999. On translating Palestinian folktales: Comparative stylists and the semiotics of genre. In: Y. Suleiman ed. Arabic grammar and linguistics. Richmond: Curzon Press pp. 222-245.

  • NADA S. and WARNS R. L. 1998. Cultural anthropology. Belmont: Wadsworth.

  • OCHS E. and CAPPS L. 2001. Living narrative: Creating lives in everyday storytelling Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

  • PETERSON C. and MCCABE A. 1983. Developmental psycholinguistics: Three ways of looking at a child's narrative. New York: Plenum.

  • PROPP V. 1968. Morphology of the folktale (2nd ed.) L. A. Wagner ed. L. Scott (Tran). Austin and London: University of Texas Press.

  • RIMMON-KENAN S. 1983. Narrative fiction (2nd ed.). London and New York: Routledge.

  • RODRIGUEZ G. A. 1999. Bringing up Latino children in a bicultural world. New York: Fireside.

  • SADRI H. and FLAMMIA M. 2011. Intercultural communication: A new approach to international relations and global challenges. New York: Continuum International.

  • SAMOVAR L. A. PORTER R. E. and MCDANIEL E. R. 2007. Communication between cultures Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

  • SHAUL D. L. ALBERT R. GOLDSTON C. & SATORY R. 1987. The Hopi coyote story as narrative: The problem of evaluation. Journal of Pragmatics vol. 11 pp. 3-35.

  • SNELL-HORNBY M. JETTMAROVA Z. and KAINDL K. 1997. Translation in intercultural communication. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamin Publishing Company.

  • STEIN N. and ALBRO E. 1997. Building complexity and coherence: Children’s use of goalstructured knowledge in telling stories. In: M. Bamberg ed. Narrative development: Six approaches. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum pp. 5-44.

  • TEDLOCK D. 1983. The spoken word and the work of interpretation. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

  • TOOLAN M. J. 2001. Narrative: A critical linguistic introduction (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.

  • THORNDYKE P. W. 1977. Cognitive structure in comprehension and memory of narrative discourse. Cognitive Psychology vol. 9 pp. 77-110.

  • VAN D. and TEUN A. 1977. Text and context: Explorations in the semantics and pragmatics of discourse. London and New York: Longman.

  • WATANABE S. 2003. Cultural differences in framing: American Japanese group discussion. In: S. F. Kiesling and C. B. Paulston eds. Intercultural discourse and communication. San Francisco: Blackwell Publishing pp. 226-247.

  • WELTY T. 1963. The Asians: Their heritage and their destiny. New York: J.B. Lippincott Company.

  • WIERZBICKA A. 2003. Cross-cultural pragmatics and different cultural values. In: Cross-cultural pragmatics. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter pp. 67-130.

Journal information
Impact Factor

CiteScore 2018: 0.25

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.144
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.447

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 663 354 14
PDF Downloads 410 253 14