Lucien Brown and Mi Yung Park

Learning a new language is not just a process of acquiring new linguistic features, such as phonemes, grammatical patterns, and a lexicon. It is also a process of learning cultural knowledge and participating in the society where the language is spoken. This chapter provides an overview of important theoretic claims regarding the process whereby language learners assimilate (or otherwise) to the target language culture, and how this manifests in their language usage. Particular focus is placed on sociocultural theory, which has emerged as the dominant model for analyzing cultural aspects of language learning, and the application of this approach to the Korean learning context. Later in the chapter, the focus shifts to how cultural and social aspects can be integrated into the Korean language classroom. Although it has long been recognized that sociolinguistic competence is an important ability that learners need to acquire, integrating these aspects into language teaching remains a challenge.