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Korean Nominal Morphology and Specificity: A Phase-based Approach

  • 인문논총
  • 2014, 33(), pp.67-85
  • Publisher : Institute for Human studies, Kyungnam University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Published : February 28, 2014

Jongil Kwon 1

1경남대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper explores the semantic nature of Korean bare NPs affixed by certain nominal markers suchas the topic –nun, the nominative –ga, the accusative –lul, and the null case -ø. It is quite clear that the specificityinterpretation of Korean bare NPs correlates with their nominal markers. I propose here that depending ontheir semantic strength, the nominal markers can be classified into three subtypes; namely, strong, weak, andweakest. The strong marker -nun, in particular, always triggers a specific reading of bare NPs while the weakestmarker -ø can never get a specific reading. The weak markers, -ga and –lul, can induce either a specific readingor a non-specific reading, according to the previous discourse context. On the other hand, I presents a phasebasedmultiple spellout approach to the specificity of bare NPs. Following Diesing’s (1992) MappingHypothesis, I assume that specific NPs are structurally higher than non-specific NPs. More specifically, I suggesthere that if a head of phase (e.g. C or little v) carries an uninterpretable strong feature (i.e. [-Spec]), everybare NP bearing a specificity feature should be internally merged to the edge of the phase, and hence it has aspecific reading. In contrast, bare NPs remaining in the spellout domain of a phase (e.g. TP or VP) must be interpretedas non-specific. That is, the spellout domain is an crucial semantic boundary between specific andnon-specific bare NPs.

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