S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 49 Number 1/3 (2013)
Modal Particles and Their Projections : A Minimalist Approach
- Yang, Yongzhong
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.49 No.1, pp. 95-136
- This paper discusses the syntactic status, distribution and constraints on generation of modal particles in the framework of generative grammar. After a summary of the syntactic properties of modal particles, we argue that modal particles vary from each other in terms of syntactic distribution, but they have similar syntactic functions and base-generated positions. In the syntactic structure, modal particles of the same type occupy the same position, whereas modal particles of different types occupy different positions, which is due to the fact that they occupy different positions in the syntactic hierarchy. It is argued that declarative sentences are the basis on which other types of sentences are generated. As a result, declarative modal particles can co-occur with interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory modal particles. Based on the syntactic hierarchy, the Constraints on Modal Particle Merger/Co-occurrence, the Principle of Locality, the Principle of Prominence, the Hierarchy of Modal Types, the Hierarchy of Abstractness, and the Hierarchy of Subjectivity are proposed to account for the possible cooccurrences of modal particles, tendency to be used as topic and focus markers, linear order of modal particles, and correlation between the hierarchy of modal types, the hierarchy of abstractness, and the hierarchy of subjectivity as well as non-occurrence of interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory modal particles in embedded clauses. It is also argued that there is correlation between the degree of grammaticalization of modal particles and the complexity of sentence structure. The conclusion has been testified cross-linguistically, which is in the spirit of universal grammar.