Dongsik Lim (CCHS-CSIC): "Gradable Predicates and Directed Motion Constructions: A View From Korean Auxiliary -eci"

Sala Caro Baroja (1D23)

In this presentation I discuss the syntactic and semantic characteristics of Korean aspectual auxiliary -eci ‘become’. I begin with the cases where -eci combines with gradable adjectives (as in 1), and propose that, following Zubizarreta and Oh (2007), -eci is a spell-out of the verbal head v of the directed motion construction, which takes a gradable adjective as its path argument. Furthermore, I also propose that when v is spelled-out as -eci, this path argument is delimited by a comparative phrase (hereafter CompP). This proposal will be supported by several pieces of evidence, including the similarities and differences between -eci deadjectival inchoatives and other directed motion constructions in Korean headed by ka-/o- ‘go/come’, the comparative interpretation of -eci inchoatives, their compatibility with measure phrases, and their variable telicity. Next, I discuss the cases where -eci can combine with (apparent) non-gradable predicates, such as psychological predicates (where -eci combines with double nominative construction, as in 2) and some transitive verbs (where -eci behaves like passivizer, as in 3). Here I argue that my initial analysis of -eci with gradable adjectives can be extended to these cases. I will support this claim by showing that i) psychological predicates in Korean also show similarities to gradable predicates, and ii) the class of verbs compatible with -eci is semantically limited to those whose meaning is related to directed motion. In conclusion, I discuss the theoretical implications of this proposal, especially focusing on the crosslinguistic variations of directed motion constructions.

(1)   a. Ku maktayki-ka kil-ess-ta.
             that stick-Nom long-Past-Decl
            ‘That stick was long’
         b. Ku maktayki-ka kil-eci-ess-ta.
             that stick-Nom long-eci-Past-Decl
           ‘That stick became longer’

(2)    a. John-un saca-ka mwusep-ess-ta.
            John-Top lion-Nom afraid-Past-Decl
           ‘John was afraid of lions’
         b. John-un saca-ka mwusep-eci-ess-ta.
            John-Top lion-Nom afraid-eci-Past-Decl
        (lit.) ‘John became afraid of lions’

(3)    a. John-i       cip        sey chay-lul cis-ess-ta.
             John-Nom house three CL-Acc build-Past-Decl
             ‘John built three houses’
         b. Cip sey chay-ka cis-eci-ess-ta.
             three house CL-Nom build-eci-Past-Decl
            ‘Three houses were built’


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