This paper deals with the nature of the lexical item po-ta in Korean. Interestingly, the verb stem po can be used in three different ways: it can be used as a lexical verb meaning ‘to see’; it can be used as an auxiliary whose meaning is similar to ‘to try’; it also has a third use, which expresses the speaker’s uncertainty or conjecture about the truth of the proposition. The gist of the proposal is that in the third construction, which is dubbed the Subjunctive Circumstantial Evidence (SCE) construction, the ending -na, attached to the stem of the main verb, is a subjunctive mood marker, indicating the speaker’s uncertainty, while po is grammaticalized as a kind of evidentiality marker, indicating the speaker’s bias toward the truth of the proposition despite the uncertainty. Based on this, the goal of this paper is to argue that the three different uses of po provide a window into clause structure-especially, the architecture of the right periphery in Korean. The discussion also has implications for the status of sentence final endings in the language. The current analysis is in line with the widely adopted view that there are fine-grained layers of functional projections in the traditional CP domain (Cinque 1999, 2006; Rizzi 1997, among many others).
2. Po-ta as a lexical verb
3. Po-ta as an auxiliary
4. A brief digression to the nature of -e
5. The SCE construction: Subjunctive mood
6. The SCE construction: Circumstantial evidentiality
7. The structure of the SCE construction