Case and argument structure in Korean and English

Date

2003-08

Authors

Chʻoe, In-chʻŏl, 1966-

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Abstract

This dissertation examines how lexical semantic properties of predicates surface in syntactic structures. Using the theoretical perspective of Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG), I address the specific issues of linking, case, and language-specific constructions in English and Korean. While the two languages of interest in this dissertation have different syntactic structures, I demonstrate that the lexical semantic factors underlying these structures are in large part shared. Building on Dowty’s (1991) proto-role approach and Davis’ (2001) HPSG type hierarchical linking theory, I posit several proto-roles that are characterized by sets of entailments, and I reify the proto-roles in an HPSG feature regime. Each proto-role is mapped onto the syntactic argument structure. In addition, each verb type is located on a HPSG type hierarchy system. Linking regularities can be explained by the constraints on each verb type; these constraints are determined by a multiple inheritance mechanism that characterizes the hierarchy. In my analysis, entailment-based verb types constrain the case assignment process in Korean. Specifically, I posit a feature DESIG(ATED)-ARG(UMENT) to single out the external argument, which is responsible for accusative case assignment in Wechsler and Lee (1996). In underived constructions in Korean, the proto-actor participant in an event or state becomes the value of the DESIGARG feature and in turn maps onto the initial member of the syntactic argument structure. Such verbs are of the type act-verb and the constraints of this particular type define accusative case assignment properties in the argument structure. In contrast, the English case system, which is limited to personal pronouns, is not related to lexical semantic properties. Thus, I suggest that a full-scale case principle is not necessary to explain the English case system. Instead, I propose case resolution constraints that apply only to personal pronouns. This dissertation also discusses various constructions in English and Korean including tough-constructions, light verb constructions and topiccomment constructions. These constructions extend the form and information inherited through linking to more complex syntactic and semantic structures. The main purpose of such ‘Extension’ is to encode discourse information such as topic and focus.

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Keywords

Korean language--Grammar, Comparative--English, English language--Grammar, Comparative--Korean

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