Journal of East Asian Linguistics

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 339–384 | Cite as

On wh- and Operator Scope in Korean

  • Sigrid Beck
  • Shin-Sook Kim


This paper presents an analysis of the interaction ofwh-phrases and negation in Korean. We observe that a wh-phrasemust not be c-commanded by negative polarity item. This isrelated to the observation that in German, a wh-phrase must notbe c-commanded by negation or a negative quantifier. We suggestthat both languages are sensitive to a restriction that prohibitsLF movement across negation, the Minimal Negative StructureConstraint MNSC, proposed in Beck (1996). Since a negativepolarity item must always be in the scope of negation, the MNSCcovers the Korean data as well as the German facts. Our analysishas several interesting implications for LF structures in Korean.One is that negation cannot be interpreted in its S-structureposition. Another concerns the semantic effect of scrambling.Contra Saito (1989, 1992), we argue that scrambling serves toidentify intended relative scope and is thus by no means vacuous.We propose that short scrambling is never reconstructed.


Negative Polarity Interesting Implication Semantic Effect Polarity Item Theoretical Language 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abusch, Dorit (1994) “The Scope of Indefinites,” Natural Language Semantics2, 83–135.Google Scholar
  2. Ahn, Hee-Don and Hang-Jin Yoon (1989) “Functional Categories in Korean,” in Susumu Kuno, Ik-Hwan Lee, John Whitman, Sung-Yun Bak, Young-Se Kang, and Young-joo Kim (eds.), Harvard Studies in Korean LinguisticsIII, Hanshin Publishing Company, Seoul, pp. 79–88.Google Scholar
  3. Beck, Sigrid (1995) “Negative Islands and Reconstruction,” in Uli Lutz and Jürgen Pafel (eds.), Extraction and Extraposition in German, Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 121–143.Google Scholar
  4. Beck, Sigrid (1996) “Quantified Structures as Barriers for LF Movement,” Natural Language Semantics4, 1–56.Google Scholar
  5. Beck, Sigrid (1996a) Wh-Constructions and Transparent Logical Form, PhD dissertation, Universität Tübingen.Google Scholar
  6. Cho, Young-mee Yu and Peter Sells (1995) “A Lexical Account of Inflectional Suffixes in Korean,” Journal of East Asian Linguistics4.2, 119–174.Google Scholar
  7. Cresti, Diana (1995) “Extraction and Reconstruction,” Natural Language Semantics3, 79–122.Google Scholar
  8. Diesing, Molly (1992) “Bare Plural Subjects and the Derivation of Logical Representations,” Linguistic Inquiry23, 353–380.Google Scholar
  9. Hamblin, C. L. (1973) “Questions in Montague English,” Foundations of Language10, 41–53.Google Scholar
  10. Han, Hak-Sung (1987) The Configurational Structure of the Korean Language, PhD dissertation, University of Texas at Austin.Google Scholar
  11. Heim, Irene and Angelika Kratzer (1991) Introduction to Semantics, ms., MIT and University of Massachusetts, Amherst.Google Scholar
  12. Heycock, Caroline and Young-Suk Lee (1989) “Subjects and Predication in Korean and Japanese,” in Hajime Hoji (ed.), Japanese/Korean Linguistics, CSLI, Stanford, pp. 239–254.Google Scholar
  13. Hoji, Hajime (1985) Logical Form Constraints and Configurational Structures in Japanese, PhD dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.Google Scholar
  14. Hoji, Hajime (1986) “Scope Interpretation in Japanese and Its Theoretical Implications,” in Proceedings of the 5th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, pp. 87–101.Google Scholar
  15. Kang, Myung-Yoon (1988) Topics in Korean Syntax: Phrase Structure, Variable Binding and Movement, PhD dissertation, MIT.Google Scholar
  16. Karttunen, Lauri (1977) “Syntax and Semantics of Questions,” Linguistics and Philosophy 1, 3–44.Google Scholar
  17. Kroch, Anthony (1989) “Amount Quantification, Referentiality and Long Wh-Movement,” ms., University of Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
  18. Ladusaw, William (1979) Polarity Sensitivity as Inherent Scope Relations, PhD dissertation, University of Texas at Austin.Google Scholar
  19. Lee, Young-Suk (1990) “Is INFL Universal? A Case Study of Korean,” in Proceedings of ESCOL 7, 204–214.Google Scholar
  20. Lukoff, Fred (1982) An Introductory Course in Korean, Yonsei University Press, Seoul.Google Scholar
  21. Pesetsky, David (1989) “Language-Particular Processes and the Earliness Principle,” ms., MIT.Google Scholar
  22. Rizzi, Luigi (1990) Relativized Minimality, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  23. Ross, J. R. (1984) “Inner Islands,” in Proceedings of the 10th Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, 258–265.Google Scholar
  24. Rullmann, Hotze (1995) Maximality in the Semantics of WH-Constructions, PhD dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.Google Scholar
  25. Saito, Mamoru (1989) "Scrambling as Semantically Vacuous A'-Movement,"; in Mark Baltin and Anthony Kroch (eds.), Alternative Conceptions of Phrase Structure, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 182–200.Google Scholar
  26. Saito, Mamoru (1992) “Long Distance Scrambling in Japanese,” Journal of East Asian Linguistics, 1, 69–118.Google Scholar
  27. Saito, Mamoru (1994) “Scrambling and the Functional Interpretation of WH-Phrases,” ms., University of Connecticut.Google Scholar
  28. Sells, Peter (1995) “Korean and Japanese Morphology from a Lexical Perspective,” Linguistic Inquiry26, 277–325.Google Scholar
  29. Stechow, Arnim von (1993a) “Die Aufgaben der Syntax,” in Joachim Jacobs, Arnim von Stechow, Wolfgang Sternefeld, and Theo Vennemann (eds.), Syntax. Ein internationales Handbuch der zeitgenössischen Forschung, de Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 1–88.Google Scholar
  30. Stechow, Arnim von (1993b) “Rekursive Konstruktion der Fragebedeutung,” ms., Universität Tübingen.Google Scholar
  31. Stechow, Arnim von and Wolfgang Sternefeld (1988) Bausteine syntaktischen Wissens, Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen.Google Scholar
  32. Sternefeld, Wolfgang (1995) “Reciprocity and Cumulative Predication,” to appear in Fritz Hamm and Erhard Hinrichs (eds.), Plurality and Quantification, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  33. Suh, Jinhee (1990) Scope Phenomena and Aspects of Korean Syntax, PhD dissertation, University of Southern California.Google Scholar
  34. Szabolsci, Anna and Frans Zwarts (1993) “Weak Islands and an Algebraic Semantics for Scope Taking,” Natural Language Semantics1, 235–284.Google Scholar
  35. Whitman, John (1989) “Topic, Modality, and IP Structure,” in Susumu Kuno, Ik-Hwan Lee, John Whitman, Sung-Yun Bak, Young-Se Kang, and Young-joo Kim (eds.), Harvard Studies in Korean LinguisticsIII, Hanshin Publishing Company, Seoul, pp. 341–356.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sigrid Beck
    • 1
  • Shin-Sook Kim
    • 1
  1. 1.Seminar für SprachwissenschaftUniversität TübingenTübingenGermany

Personalised recommendations