The goal of this paper is to investigate the pragmatic meaning of the disjunction-driven anti-specificity marker inka associated with rigid designators such as proper nouns (e.g., John-inka) in Korean. Its attachability to a specific referent is unexpected in the previous accounts of inka (Choi 2011; Kang 2015, 2017, a.o.), assuming the felicity condition that the domain of referentially vague items like ‘wh-phrase’-inka should not be a singleton set with a fixed value. With a proper name, however, the referential vagueness presupposition cannot be satisfied. We argue that this particular use of inka is pragmatically accommodated by the anti-honorific connotational nuance, which is independent of the at-issue content. In particular, we propose that the derogatory sense triggered by inka is Conventional Implicature (à la Potts 2005), expressing a speaker’s negative attitude toward the target. We furthermore examine its co-occurrence patterns with other typical expressives and show how the dynamic paradigm of multiple expressives (the anti-honorific inka and others) can be predicted by the compatibility condition (Yoon 2015). Regarding the relationship between the two types, anti-specific vs. anti-honorific inka, we show that whereas the anti-specific inka contributes the semantic content of referential vagueness, the anti-honorific inka has only the pragmatic contribution of mitigation as a reflex of grammaticalization of the attitude holder’s subjective perspective. Theoretical implications of the current study thus include: (i) the conceptual connection from anti-specificity to anti-honorification is established; (ii) the identification of another case of expressive element in language lends further support to the notion of multidimensionality in meaning; and (iii) the close examination of compatibility condition reveals the systematicity of expressives as part of our grammar.
2 Anti-specificity vs. anti-honorification split
3. The meaning of anti-honorific inka
4. Compatibility condition between inka and other expressives