The purpose of this study is to identify a temporal adverb ‘imi’ in terms of the sphere it belongs to, the relations of co-occurrence with tense and situation types, and the meaning. To achieve this purpose, this study critically reviewed preceding researches which suggested that ‘imi’ be an aspectual adverb, and examined certain example sentences with respect to the relations of co-occurrence with the types of tense and situation types. Based on the findings from this process, this study revealed the meaning of ‘imi’.
Although in many preceding researches the adverb ‘imi’ is identified as an aspectual verb, this study revealed that ‘imi’ cannot be limited only to an aspectual verb. This adverb needs to be seen in the various aspects.
In chapter 3.1., it is examined that the relations of co-occurrence between ‘imi’ and tense grammatical forms with sample sentences. ‘Imi’ could co-occur with past, present, and future tense. A noteworthy phenomenon here was the relations of co-occurrence between ‘imi’ and future tense, which showed that ‘imi’ confine the meaning of the future to the guess of speaker not the will of speaker. In doing so, a hypothesis that “‘imi’ requires reference time.” can be established.
On the other hand, chapter 3.2 examined the example sentences with respect to situation types suggested by Smith(1991/1997). A certain situation type could not co occur with ‘imi’, but in this case a little manipulation could made the co-occurrences very natural. In the course of doing so, a hypothesis above could be developed like following. “The ‘imi’ clause requires a reference time of which an event may influence to(or make different) the situation, and the point of time indicated by ‘imi’ is before the reference time.”Chpater 4.2 discussed the meaning of ‘imi’ based on the findings above. For convenience of discussion, this study introduced the signs and concepts from Michaelis(1992): RI(the event which can change the ‘imi’ clause situation), AS(the state of ‘imi’ clause), and AS'(the state of an event which can change the ‘imi’ clause situation). This study invented a function relation, “f(x) = AS′(RI)”. The possible results were two types: ① AS′(RI)=AS, ② AS′(RI)≠AS.
In conclusion, the meaning of ‘imi’ clause can be divided into two. In the case of ①, ‘imi’ clause refers to that “there is no need any RI(the event which can change the ‘imi’ clause situation). In the case of ②, ‘imi’ clause refers to the situation which cannot be helped.
In this context, this study shed new light on the role of reference time in the temporal adverb ‘imi’ and revealed the possibility that ‘imi’ can be seen as a versatile adverb in terms of categories of aspect and modality.