S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 52 Number 1/3 (2016)
Yekan and Focus
- Yeom, Jae-Il
- Issue Date
- Language Research, Vol.52 No.3, pp. 451-489
- Yekan is typically used with a long-form negation, and the negation is interpreted like a metalinguistic negation. But I show that the negation associated with yekan is not metalinguistic but descriptive. The reason that descriptive negation gets the effect of metalinguistic negation is that yekan is focused and that when yekan is used with a gradable predicate, we only consider individuals that have positive degrees in the property denoted by the predicate. Yekan covers the lower half of the positive degrees in the scale of the property. The only meaning we get from a negative sentence with yekan is the upper half of the positive degrees, which is expressed with the corresponding affirmative sentence with very. And a focused expression is not negated by a short-form negation or negative predicate because it has to be in the scope of negation. On the other hand, if a contrastive topic-focus relation is involved, yekan can be associated with a short-form negation or negative predicate. In this case, yekan does not have to go into the scope of negation. A sentence with yekan is negative or conveys a negative implicature because the meaning conveyed by the corresponding affirmative sentence with yekan can be conveyed by the corresponding sentence without yekan plus an implicature, which makes yekan non-contributive.