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KCI등재 학술저널

On the semantics of an even-based polarity sensitive item, wh-(N)-lato

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In this paper, we study the semantics of even-based polarity sensitive items (PSIs) in Korean that are composed of wh-indeterminates and even-corresponding particles. Korean has two types of particles, -to and -lato, alleged to correspond to -even. Upon examination of their interpretational and distributional properties, however, we suggest that -lato does not correspond to a sub-type of the English even (contra An (2007)), but rather is one of the concessive scalar particles introduced in the work of Crnic (2011a, b). We argue that -lato is morphologically complex, inducing two sentential operators, AT LEAST and EVEN, following the analysis of Crnic (2011a, b) on *magari. This line of argument successfully explains the four characteristic properties of -lato laid out in this paper. Unlike -lato, examination of -to phrases confirms that -to is a sub-type of even. Once the meanings of -to and -lato are identified, our main concern shifts to the combination of wh-indeterminates plus -lato. The second part of this paper addresses the meaning of a bare wh-indeterminate in bidimensional semantics and the problem that occurs when a sentence with a wh-indeterminate becomes the argument of focus-sensitive operator, AT LEAST. A sentence with a wh-indeterminate in its bare form lacks an ordinary meaning, and instead has only an alternative meaning (= a set of alternatives). Considering the definition of AT LEAST, which involves two types of arguments—a prejacent and a set of alternatives —as suggested by Crnic (2011a, b), the meaning of a wh-indeterminate as forming a set of alternatives cannot form a proper argument of AT LEAST. To remedy this problem, we employ a covert existential operator, one of three types of repairing operators suggested in the work of Elerwine (2019). By establishing these basic semantics of wh-indeterminate plus -lato phrases, we can eventually understand how the distributional and interpretational properties of these phrases in various contexts are formed.

1. Introduction

2. The meaning of -to and -lato

3. Wh-indeterminates plus -to/-lato

4. A short review of the previous research

5. Summary

References

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