S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 46 Number 1/2 (2010)
Semantics and Pragmatics of -ess in Korean
- Yeom, Jae-Il
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.46 No.2, pp. 199-236
- It is well-known that -ess is sometimes interpreted as past tense and sometimes as perfect aspect. But most analyses claim that one meaning can be derived from the other pragmatically. In this paper, I claim that -ess is ambiguous and takes two different syntactic positions depending on its meaning. To support this, I show that the two interpretations are indepen-dent and semantically different in several ways. The crucial differences can be traced back to the locations of reference times. They might be determined linguistically or pragmatically, but the differences in reference times come from semantic differences. And perfect interpretations vary with classes of predicates, while past interpretations do not show such variations. This also makes them distinctive.