“Such a Good Night”: Analyses of Korean-English code-switching and music video comments of ASTRO’S songs

Alya Ditha Berliana, Harwintha Yuhria Anjarningsih


To attract global multilingual audiences, English lyrics had been included in K-Pop songs for decades as a strategy (Lauren, 2018; Sea, 2018). This paper analyzed the English usage of “All Night”, “Blue Flame”, and “Knock” by ASTRO, a third-generation K-Pop group from a non-mainstream agency to examine code-switching and the global recognition of K-Pop songs. All songs were examined by using code-switching theories from Poplack (1980) and Bullock and Toribio (2009) and other theories on function analysis by Lawrence (2010) and Lee (2004) and comment analysis by Fernandez-Martinez et al. (2014) and Kwon (2019). The findings revealed that the majority of code switches in “All Night” and “Blue Flame” were inter-sentential, yet “All Night” and “Knock” were more similar in utilizing English by having a new function (i.e., emphasizing a dialog from one’s perspective), an important addition to Lee’s (2004) functions. Furthermore, from the usage and function analysis and the comment analysis, the audience responses seemed to be influenced by the singers’ mispronunciations and the non-existence of a new function that failed to create uniqueness in English usage in “Blue Flame,” which may have led to the song’s failure to win awards. In conclusion, the research suggested that, in the near-absence of promotional support from the agency, the interplay among the number of switches, accurate pronunciations, and a new English-switching function seemed to play an important role in making “All Night” and “Knock” popular among multilingual audiences.


Code-switching; comment analysis; function analysis; English usage; K-Pop songs

Full Text:



ASTRO. (2019). All Night [Song]. On All Light. Fantagio Music.

ASTRO. (2019). Blue Flame [Song]. On Blue Flame. Fantagio Music.

ASTRO. (2020). Knock [Song]. On Gateway. Fantagio Music.

ASTRO 아스트로. (2019, January 16). ASTRO 아스트로 - All Night(전화해) M/V [Video]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/ZEE1UC90I0o

ASTRO 아스트로. (2019, November 20). ASTRO 아스트로 – Blue Flame M/V [Video]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/wS7anrSXKrY

ASTRO 아스트로. (2020, May 4). ASTRO 아스트로 – Knock(널 찾아가) M/V [Video]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/Zz7YZtpz2Ek

Bullock, B. E., & Toribio, A. J. (Eds). (2009). The Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic Code-Switching. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from https://b-ok.asia/book/855069/fb064c

Dovchin, S. (2016, April 28). Translocal English in the Linguascape of Mongolian Popular Music. World Englishes. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/weng.12189

Ferna ́ndez-Mart ́ınez, F, et al. (2014). Combining audio-visual features for viewers’ perception classification of Youtube car commercials. 2nd Workshop on Speech, Language ISCA Archive and Audio in Multimedia (SLAM 2014). Retrieved from https://e-archivo.uc3m.es/bitstream/handle/10016/21479/combining_SLAM_2014.pdf#page41

Holmes, J. (2013). An Introduction to Sociolinguistics (4th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Jocelin, E. & Tryana. (2019). Code Mixing and Code Switching in a Korean-Song Lyrics. Lexeme: Journal of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, 1(2). Retrieved from openjournal.unpam.ac.id/index.php/LJLAL/article/view/5127/3648

Lauren, Y, R. (2018, August 24) The Commodification of English in K-pop: Globalisation and Multiple Markets. ScholarBank@NUS Repository. Retrieved from https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/149518

Lee, J. S. (2004). Linguistic hybridization in K-Pop: Discourse of Self-assertion and Resistance. World Englishes, 23(3), 429–450. Retrieved from https://booksc.xyz/book/9049420/79dfc2

Likhitphongsathorn, T., & Sappapan, P. (2013). Study of English Code-mixing and Code-switching in Thai Pop Songs. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/3572102/

Lawrence, C. B. (2014, March). The Verbal Art of Borrowing: Analysis of English borrowing in Korean pop songs. Asian Englishes, 13(2), 42-63. DOI: 10.1080/13488678.2010.10801282

Lawrence, C. B. (2019, March 20). International Englishes, Dialects and Glocalized Englishes: Translanguaging in South Korea. Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. Retrieved from https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/etd/6187

Oh, I., & Park, G. (2012). From B2C to B2B: Selling Korean Pop Music in the Age of New Social Media*. Korea Observer, 43(3), 365-397. Retrieved from http://www.tobiashubinette.se/hallyu_2.pdf

Poplack, S. (1980). Sometimes I'll start a sentence in Spanish y termino en español": toward a typology of code-switching. Linguistics, 18(7-8), 581-618. DOI: 10.1515/ling.1980.18.7-8.581

Rusli, W. N. S. S. W., et al. (2018). Intra and Intersentential Code-switching Phenomena in Modern Malay Songs. 3L: The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies, 24(3), 184–205. Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.17576/3L-2018-2403-14

Sea, A. (2018, September 12). Types and Motivations of Korean to English Code Switching in Taeyeon’s Album My Voice Song Lyrics. Retrieved from http://repository.usd.ac.id/31334/

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17509/ijal.v12i2.32911


  • There are currently no refbacks.

View My Stats

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.