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The Motivations of Preference for Long- form Negation of Adjectives

  • Korean Semantics
  • 2017, 57(), pp.153-185
  • Publisher : The Society Of Korean Semantics
  • Research Area : Humanities > Korean Language and Literature
  • Published : September 30, 2017

Jeong Yeonju 1

1고려대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper investigates the reasons why Korean adjectives prefer the long-form negation to the short one. The investigation suggests: 1) Adjectives go well with degree adverbs. When negated, a degree adverb causes semantic ambiguity. There is context where long-form negation should be adopted to include the degree adverb in question under the negation scope. 2) Usually an adjective expresses the speaker’s subjective assess on someone or something, and subjective assess always implies conflicts with others’ evaluation. As the speaker’s intention of negation tends to be less clear and gentle in long-form negation, generally Korean speakers prefer using long-form negation to using short-form negation with adjectives. 3) In many cases an adjective has its counterpart, an antonym on the semantic scale, and it is posited that they are located on the ends of this scale; one on an end and the other on the other end. If one desires to point between the two extremes, s/he should negate both of them. Here the speaker uses long-form negation with the enclitic(bojosa) do. 4) Of adjectives, there are a few with an antonym without scalar, a pair of complementary opposite. When one of the pair negated in short form, the derived meaning is identical to the antonym’s. That’s why the existence of complementary opposites blocks the use of short-form negation in adjectives. On the other hand when it comes to long-form negation, its wider scope and hedging the intention of negation excludes the possibility of blocking.

Citation status

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This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.