S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 35 Number 1/4 (1999)
Syntactic Coding of Attention Detection in Korean
- Hwang, Jong-Bai
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.35 No.2, pp. 315-341
- When a speaker produces a sentence, he/she has to map some nonlinguistic cognitive configuration of an event onto the linguistic code specified by the grammar of the language. Tomlin (1997) explains the role of attention in assigning a referent to syntactic subject in English, showing how conceptual representations are mapped into language. This study aims at elaborating his framework by exploring the grammatical means which Korean speakers employ to code attention detection, the cognitive counterpart for traditional pragmatic topic or theme. 15 Korean native speakers are asked to produce on-line descriptions of the events they witness in an animated film on computer screen. The results show that active clauses were generated 100% of the time when the agent was primed, while, if the patient was primed, passive clauses were produced more than 86% of the time, along with an alternation between active and passive. Unexpectedly, however, the morphological marker used to code the attention detection is the so-called subject marker -i/-ka, not the so-called topic marker -nun. These results suggest that a widely accepted conventional approach to the marking of topic in Korean should be complemented with more analyses of semantic/pragmatic function of the markers.
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