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Volume 56, Issue 5


Korean converbs between coordination and subordination

Gerd Jendraschek / Yongmin Shin
Published Online: 2018-07-10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2018-0018


One peculiarity of Korean morphosyntax is the existence of a large set of converbal suffixes. A survey of previous descriptions reveals a lack of consensus in the analysis of these converbs. Too often they have been pressed into a Eurocentric dichotomy of subordination versus coordination, leading to confusion about their typological status. Trying to correct this approach by describing the language on its own terms is therefore the main objective of our paper. We compare the morphosyntactic behavior of four selected suffixes with respect to some relevant criteria for subordination versus coordination, such as the scope of illocutionary operators, shared TAM, subject coreference, constituent order, and the development of dependent verb forms into complex predicates or adpositions. This empirical research feeds back into the theoretical discussion, as it will be shown that the Korean converbs can indeed be described using conventional typological concepts if construed appropriately. Our second objective is therefore to review the criteria involved in describing clause-linkage and to see how relevant terminology can be used more consistently. The conclusion is that the four converb types turn out to be located on a continuum between coordination and subordination, thus constituting an instantiation of syntax-semantics isomorphism.

Keywords: clause linkage; subordination; converbs; isomorphism; Korean


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About the article

Published Online: 2018-07-10

Published in Print: 2018-08-28

Citation Information: Linguistics, Volume 56, Issue 5, Pages 1099–1139, ISSN (Online) 1613-396X, ISSN (Print) 0024-3949, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2018-0018.

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