Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1566-5852
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9854
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This paper provides an examination and analysis of two roughly synonymous aspectual markers in Korean, pelita and malta, that developed from the transitive verbs ‘throw away’ and ‘stop’, respectively. Based on electronic corpora, it is shown that these markers are distributed divergently: malta is strongly preferred to pelita in passive, non-volitional and resistant contexts. The divergent distributions of pelita and malta can be more clearly understood in terms of transitivity. I propose that the transitivity difference of their lexical sources is reflected in constraints on their grammaticalisation and contemporary uses. The low vs. high transitivity of the lexical verbs malta and pelita has persisted in grammaticalisation and brought about differences between their grammaticalised forms. This paper suggests that the gradient notion of transitivity can be used as an explanatory principle that generalises differences between synonymous grammatical words that developed from different lexical verbs.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): auxiliary selection; Korean completive aspects; transitivity
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