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Choo, Young-Jae (2003) A synchronic and diachronic study of Korean modal suffixes. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This functional typological study of the Korean Modal Suffixes intends to establish a rather comprehensive picture of the Korean modal suffixes (hereafter KMS). It employs diachronic and synchronic approaches assuming that synchronic rules reflect the diachronic development of the KMS. It also traces the development of the KMS from the point of view of their interaction with tense and aspect. Chapter one gives a general overview of the whole work. Chapter two surveys previous studies on modality both from a general point of view and with regard to Korean and presents a preliminary account of the KMS. Chapter three deals with the Typological characteristics of the KMS. It establishes the suffixation rule, which presupposes that if there exist morphologically distinctive classes, there should be places of occurrence for the respective items which give automatic clues for their identification. Chapter four is concerned with the semantic features of the KMS. A number of semantic parameters of the system have been accounted for, and definitions of sub-categories and formulations are proposed on a conceptual basis (Palmer 1986). This thesis is also dedicated to the description of the polysemous character of the KMS and to the establishment of the principle which governs the expansion of meanings, the cause and nature of semantic change in terms of a compromise between the two approaches - prototype and componential semantic theories (Bennett 1990; Taylor 1995). In the course of presenting a classification of their meanings, it emphasizes their polysemous nature and gives prominence to the distinction between deontic and epistemic uses. Chapter five explores the historical development of the KMS. The assumption that what might have started as a context-dependent extension acquires the status of an established prototypical sense is applied to a representative set of Middle and Old Korean etymologies. The principles of change are accounted for from a grammaticalization perspective (Hopper & Traugott 1993). Chapter six summarizes the original contributions of this thesis.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:03

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