Original Paper

Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 339-358

First online:

Aspectual and focus adverbs in English and Korean

  • EunHee LeeAffiliated withDepartment of Linguistics, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York Email author 

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This article presents a comparative semantic analysis of the aspectual and focus adverbs already, still and STILL in English and imi/pelsse ‘already’ and acik/yothay ‘still’ in Korean based on their presuppositions and their focus interpretation. I argue that the two contrasting views of aspectual adverbs as logical duals (Löbner 1989, 1999) and as scalar (focus) particles (Michaelis 1993, 1996; Israel 1995) are both necessary in order to explain the English and Korean data. Aspect concerns the internal structure of events, relating a current state with the onset or the end of the state. These transitions are available for focusing, which triggers an explicit contrast between the asserted state and an alternative state with an opposite polarity. Korean is shown to lexicalize aspectual and focus adverbs differently from what is expressed in English by a single adverb with focus marked prosody. The meaning of aspectual and focus adverbs in both English and Korean is representated in Discourse Representation Theory (Kamp and Reyle 1993; van Eijck and Kamp 1997).


Aspectual adverbs Korean and English Logical duals Scalar particles Focus Discourse representation theory