Volume 24, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1606-822X
  • E-ISSN: 2309-5067



Korean has a reciprocal pronoun that under certain conditions takes on an innovative function as a marker of competition. This meaning emerges when the marker is used in reported speech containing a predicate expressing volition, intention, or speaker-orientation. In such contexts, the marker is reanalysed as co-referential with competing subsets of subject referents. The final stage is the extension of the competition marker to simple clauses and predicates. The empirical part of this research is based on a survey with 23 native speakers. The shift from a reciprocal pronoun to a competition marker will be analysed as an instance of subjectification. The innovative use as a competition marker has led to additional distributional differences between the simple use of the marker and its reduplicated form. The situation in Korean is comparable to that in Japanese, Bulgarian, and Karachay-Balkar, and mirrors the polysemy pattern found in Tuvaluan. This is the first typological study of the relevant domain in Korean, and will be a valuable addition to the list of available studies on reciprocity and subjectification.

Available under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Alpatov, Vladimir M. & Nedjalkov, Vladimir P.
    2007 Reciprocal, sociative, and competitive constructions in Japanese. InNedjalkov, Vladimir P. (ed.), Reciprocal constructions (Typological Studies in Language 71), vol.31, 1021–1094. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/tsl.71.36alp
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.71.36alp [Google Scholar]
  2. Bentley, Delia & Cruschina, Silvio
    2018 The silent argument of broad focus: Typology and predictions. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics3(1). 1–37. (Article no. 118.) 10.5334/gjgl.677
    https://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.677 [Google Scholar]
  3. Besnier, Niko
    2000Tuvaluan: A Polynesian language of the Central Pacific. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Bußmann, Hadumod
    2002Lexikon der Sprachwissenschaft [Lexicon of linguistics]. Stuttgart: Alfred Kröner Verlag.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Creissels, Denis & Nouguier-Voisin, Sylvie
    2008 Valency-changing operations in Wolof and the notion of “co-participation”. InKönig, Ekkehard & Gast, Volker (eds.), Reciprocals and reflexives: Theoretical and typological explorations, 289–305. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Dalrymple, Mary & Kanazawa, Makoto & Kim, Yookyung & McHombo, Sam & Peters, Stanley
    1998 Reciprocal expressions and the concept of reciprocity. Linguistics and Philosophy21(2). 159–210. 10.1023/A:1005330227480
    https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1005330227480 [Google Scholar]
  7. Fleischman, Suzanne
    1983 From pragmatics to grammar: Diachronic reflections on complex pasts and futures in Romance. Lingua60(2-3). 183–214. 10.1016/0024‑3841(83)90074‑8
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0024-3841(83)90074-8 [Google Scholar]
  8. Haspelmath, Martin
    2010 Comparative concepts and descriptive categories in crosslinguistic studies. Language86(3). 663–687. 10.1353/lan.2010.0021
    https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2010.0021 [Google Scholar]
  9. Hong, Chai-Song
    2007 Phulangsue sanghophyociuy yuhyengloncek thukseng [Typological characteristics of French reciprocal marking]. Seoul: Seoul National University. (Manuscript.)
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Hopper, Paul
    1987 Emergent grammar. InAske, Jon & Beery, Natasha & Michaelis, Laura & Filip, Hana (eds.), Proceedings of the Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: General session and parasession on grammar and cognition, 139–157. Berkeley: Berkeley Linguistics Society. 10.3765/bls.v13i0.1834
    https://doi.org/10.3765/bls.v13i0.1834 [Google Scholar]
  11. Jendraschek, Gerd
    2007La notion modale de possibilité en basque: Morphologie, syntaxe, sémantique, variations diachronique et sociolinguistique [The modal notion of possibility in Basque: Morphology, syntax, semantics, diachronic and sociolinguistic variation]. Paris: L’Harmattan.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. 2014 Future tense, prospective aspect, and irrealis mood as part of the situation perspective: Insights from Basque, Turkish, and Papuan. InDe Brabanter, Philippe & Kissine, Mikhail & Sharifzadeh, Saghie (eds.), Future times, future tenses, 138–164. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199679157.003.0007
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199679157.003.0007 [Google Scholar]
  13. Johanson, Lars
    1994 Türkeitürkische Aspektotempora [Aspect-tenses in Turkey Turkish]. InThieroff, Rolf & Ballweg, Joachim (eds.), Tense systems in European languages, 247–266. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. King, Alan Roy
    1993Communicative grammar of the Basque verb (selected aspects). London: Queen Mary University of London. (Doctoral dissertation.)
    [Google Scholar]
  15. König, Ekkehard & Kokutani, Shigehiro
    2006 Towards a typology of reciprocal constructions: Focus on German and Japanese. Linguistics44(2). 271–302. 10.1515/LING.2006.010
    https://doi.org/10.1515/LING.2006.010 [Google Scholar]
  16. Koo, Myung-Chul & Lehmann, Christian
    2010 Modality in the Korean suffix -keyss. Language Research46(1). 83–102. (s-space.snu.ac.kr/bitstream/10371/86452/1/4.%202223073.pdf) (Accessed2022-10-05.)
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Lander, Yury & Arkadiev, Peter
    2016 On the right of being a comparative concept. Linguistic Typology20(2). 403–416. 10.1515/lingty‑2016‑0014
    https://doi.org/10.1515/lingty-2016-0014 [Google Scholar]
  18. Langacker, Ronald W.
    1990 Subjectification. Cognitive Linguistics1(1). 5–38. 10.1515/cogl.1990.1.1.5
    https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.1990.1.1.5 [Google Scholar]
  19. Lichtenberk, Frantisek
    2000 Reciprocals without reflexives. InFrajzyngier, Zygmunt & Curl, Traci S. (eds.), Reciprocals: Forms and functions (Typological Studies in Language 41), vol.21, 31–62. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/tsl.41.03lic
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.41.03lic [Google Scholar]
  20. Moyse-Faurie, Claire
    2008 Constructions expressing middle, reflexive and reciprocal situations in some Oceanic languages. InKönig, Ekkehard & Gast, Volker (eds.), Reciprocals and reflexives: Theoretical and typological explorations, 105–168. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. National Institute of Korean Language
    National Institute of Korean Language 2021Pyocwun kwuke taysacen [Korean standard dictionary]. (https://stdict.korean.go.kr/main/main.do) (Accessed2021-04-22.)
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Nedjalkov, Vladimir P.
    (ed.) 2007Reciprocal constructions (Typological Studies in Language 71). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/tsl.71
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.71 [Google Scholar]
  23. Park, Jin-Ho
    2007 Yuhyengloncek kwancemeyse pon hankwuke taymyengsa cheykyeyuy thukcing [The pronominal system of Korean viewed from a typological perspective]. Kwukehak [Journal of Korean Linguistics] 501. 115–147.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Sohn, Ho-Min
    1999The Korean language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Traugott, Elizabeth Closs
    2010 (Inter)subjectivity and (inter)subjectification: A reassessment. InDavidse, Kristin & Vandelanotte, Lieven & Cuyckens, Hubert (eds.), Subjectification, intersubjectification and grammaticalization (Topics in English Linguistics 66), 29–71. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. 10.1515/9783110226102.1.29
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110226102.1.29 [Google Scholar]
  26. Wunderlich, Dieter
    2014 Variations of double nominative in Korean and Japanese. InGerland, Doris & Horn, Christian & Latrouite, Anja & Ortmann, Albert (eds.), Meaning and grammar of nouns and verbs, 339–372. Düsseldorf: Düsseldorf University Press.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): competition marker; Korean; reanalysis; reciprocity; subjectification
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error