This study views the basic meaning of the word ‘geureon’ in Korean, as ‘reference,’ and examines the use trends of the word in spoken and written Korean language. First of all, in the spoken corpus, ‘geureon’ has been used 10.5 times per one thousand word phrases, while in the written corpus the word has been used 1.4 times per one thousand word phrases. This shows that the word is used much more frequently in spoken language than in written language. In addition, in written language, only the types of ‘geureon and noun’ and ‘geureon and dependent noun’ appear, but, in spoken language, sometimes ‘geureon’ appears solely and the use of ‘geureon geo’ appears to be very high, thereby implying that the word ‘geureon’ has a different usage in spoken language from that in written language.
This study examines by categorizing the referential aspects of ‘geureon’ into ‘referential,’ ‘semi-referential,’ and ‘non-referential’ ones. While in written language, the word ‘geureon’ appears to be a context reference which has the subject to be referred within a context, in spoken language, there are very active semi-referential usages along with some non-referential usages. As semi-referential usages, there are mostly the usages where the word ‘geureon’ may be omitted, and there are a lot of expressions which are not orderly such as modification and repetition.
The referential usages, semi-referential usages, and non-referential usages all perform a function to let a discourse cohere. That is, they let a discourse cohere by a variety of methods from making the preceding content cohere with the following content to making the discourse cohere to prevent it from discontinuing. Some aspects of such coherence are common in spoken and written languages, but they show a different result due to various factors working on realization of writings and speeches. In addition, while in written language it can be checked the whole content and the connection between the preceding content and the following content by visual information, in spoken language, it needs to be delivered and understand information by depending on one’s sense of hearing, so ‘geureon,’ which indicates that the preceding content and the following content are connected, is very frequently used.