Volume 30, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1018-2101
  • E-ISSN: 2406-4238



Using natural conversation corpora, I demonstrate that the Korean x- ‘x-or do’ and x- ‘x-or do’, which originally list options (e.g., ‘x or y do’) have emerged as independent constructions that can indicate approximation, epistemic uncertainty, tentativeness, and even polite hedging. I argue that these Korean “general extenders” (Overstreet 1999) followed a similar (inter)subjectification process to English x- and Japanese x- ‘x-or do.’ I also illustrate how these two Korean general extenders specialize in different hedging strategies.

Ironically, Korean and Japanese can also convey a speaker’s negative affective stance. I demonstrate that was frequently used in making non-imposing suggestions (hedging) and obtained its negative affect in the context of suggesting an obvious but untried solution (i.e., the frustration of the suggesting speaker). This result differs from Suzuki (2008)’s argument of the Japanese case which attributes this development to a speaker’s non-committal attitude.


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