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On the Recovery of Korean Null Objects - Some Challenges from Experimental Evidence

  • Journal of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • 2023, 80(4), pp.119-158
  • DOI : 10.17326/jhsnu.80.4.202311.119
  • Publisher : Institute of Humanities, Seoul National University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : October 11, 2023
  • Accepted : November 8, 2023
  • Published : November 30, 2023

Ko, Heejeong 1 Chorong Kang 1 HYUNWOO KIM 2

1서울대학교
2연세대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

There are two major approaches to Korean null objects: one is the argument ellipsis analysis, and the other is the null pronoun analysis. These two approaches make different predictions regarding the reading preference among two possible interpretations (strict reading vs. sloppy reading). However, there has been limited quantitative research conducted to test the predictions of each approach. This paper focuses on four unresolved questions on the issue and provides quantitative data to advance ongoing theoretical debates regarding Korean null objects. In the experiment conducted, participants read sentences and indicated their interpretation of null objects. The experiment reveals four new observations: 1. A consistent preference for the strict reading in null object constructions. 2. An interpretation discrepancy between overt pronouns and null objects. 3. General acceptance of a sloppy reading for null arguments by Korean native speakers. 4. The absence of priming effects from a full-fledged nominal phrase or a pronoun on the processing of null objects. These four observations challenge both approaches to Korean null objects and suggest that further quantitative research is needed to better understand the syntactic nature of null objects.

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