S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 30 Number 1/4 (1994)
Conditional Forms and Meanings in Korean
- Lee, Chang-Bong
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.30 No.1, pp. 273-295
- The paper aims to study the forms and meanings of two conditional markers, -myen and -tamyen, and their functional division within the Korean grammar of conditionals. I claim the following two main points. First, I argue contra Bak (1987) that -myen is not a ubiquitous conditional marker in Korean and Korean is not exceptional in its domain of conditionality; that is, the realis domain cannot be a conditional target in Korean. Second, I argue that -tamyen clause is characterized by its cleft-conditional form and this structural feature explains its felicitous use over -myen in the following contexts. One of such contexts is what Iatridou (1990) called 'Factual Conditional' type where the speaker quotes what the addressee just said in the previous discourse. The other context is where the speaker views the content of the protasis as (highly) hypothetical. We observe that the choice between -tamyen and -myen is determined by the speaker's attitude toward' the content of the protasis or in the whole conditional sentence such that -tamyen is favored over -myen to mark the unexpected or remote possibility or the unrealistic situation with a counterfactual flavor (more hypothetical), whereas -myen prevails over -tamyen when the content of the protasis is viewed as the expected or immediate possibility (less hypothetical) or when it is not characterized by being hypothetical as in Restrictive If-clause types or Generic Conditionals.