Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1876-1933
  • E-ISSN: 1876-1941
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Since the Korean firsthand evidential marker -te- shows unexpected semantics such as implicating psychological distance and restricted deictic accessibility as well as standard evidential semantics, Korean linguists have disagreed considerably about the analysis of the marker, each citing evidence for distinct analyses. The aim of this paper is to argue that the marker -te- can be given a unified treatment as an evidential marker. The alleged incompatibility between the functions of -te- is a consequence of the combination of semantic primes encoding firsthand evidentiality and past tense at the same time. To better explain the marker’s multiple functions and its subjective semantics, I employ Mental Spaces Theory (Fauconnier 1997; Fauconnier & Sweetser 1996; Dancygier & Sweetser 2005): the marker sets up a subjective experience mental space, where the speaker can have access from the Base space to his/her firsthand perception space. Specifically, I propose a notion of backgrounded information accommodation to represent a situation where the addressee immediately accesses backgrounded knowledge that the speaker has obtained information of the linguistic content, when the marker is used. Furthermore, we can explain why the -te- construction does not allow direct attribution of another person’s mental state, exploring how the marker restricts (non-)1st person subjects’ co-occurrence with particular types of predicates (i.e. action and experiential).


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