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



The main purpose of this paper is to identify the novel type of Korean definiteness marker. Especially I show that Korean KU which originated from the morphological demonstrative ‘that’, instantiates a solid pattern of distribution of definiteness marker. Mainly focusing on the semantico-pragmatic role of KU, the proposal comprises three main parts: (i) Given that Korean employs distinct devices teased apart into uniqueness (i.e. referential use) and familiarity (i.e. anaphoric use) in its definiteness system, I show that the effect of referential use in argument saturating function is achieved by the covert “determiner” in bare nouns, whereas anaphoric use in argument non-saturating function is achieved by the overt KU; (ii) The semantic contribution of KU is analyzed as a domain restrictor (D; Etxeberria & Giannakidou 2010) which supplies an indexical property as an argument (Schwarz 20092013Jenks 2018); (iii) I further show that the D operator is present in the syntax, falling out from the standard D position as an adjunctive modifier in a lower DP layer. The contribution of my work is that the proposed account allows us to widen our view of cross-linguistic variation to cases where the prerequisite of definiteness is based on the dissociation of meaning (i.e. the semantic role of D as encoding familiarity) and form (i.e. the syntactic role of D as an argument-building function).

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Keyword(s): definiteness; demonstratives; domain restriction; DP structure; Korean KU
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