Volume 22, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1606-822X
  • E-ISSN: 2309-5067



Previous studies using diachronic data from the Historical Corpus have traced the semantic extension of voice marker - from middle to passive uses (e.g. Ahn & Yap 2017). In this study, based on data from the Contemporary Spoken Corpus, we further examine the relationship between middle and passive uses of - constructions, with special attention to the neutralization of adversative readings that give rise to generalized (in addition to adversative) middle and passive - constructions. Our analysis reveals that judgments about adversative readings in Contemporary Korean are not emergent solely from the semantics of the verb or adjective preceding - but additionally are emergent and grounded in the interaction between discourse participants. The distributional characteristics of - also show a strong interaction between voice and tense-aspect-mood (TAM). There is also some interaction effects from register and text type/genre, particularly in the usage frequency distribution of spontaneous and passive - constructions. In addition, contrary to the traditional notion that - is essentially a passive marker, in real usage, - is still far more frequently used as a middle marker than a passive marker.

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