This paper addresses a specific context where the so-called plural marking - tul in Korean is obligatory for plural denotation, sharply contrasting with the widely known generalization that in classifier languages, plural morphology is merely optional. A human noun in Korean requires a number specification by -tul, when it denotes plural individuals in an anaphoric definite context, whereas a non-human noun does not require it under the same condition. This contrast will be explained by the peculiarity of human nouns that can take null classifiers, distinct from other nouns in Korean. Human nouns, being associated with null classifiers, behave as count nouns and require explicit number specifications by -tul when full DP structures are supposed to project. Non-human nouns, in contrast, are mass nouns without resorting to overt classifiers, and hence do not require number specifications by -tul even when complete DPs are projected. This discussion, in turn, leads to implications on the syntactic status of -tul in Korean, arguing for a head plural analysis, instead of a modifying plural analysis, and further on the DP- vs. NP-language debate of classifier languages.
2. Background Discussions