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Auteur: Ahbi KOH

Korean Temporal Adverbs from the Perspective of Pragmatic Comparison

Abstract/Résumé: My research has been conducted with respect to the “so-called” synonyms that native speakers of a language do not even recognize their subtle semantic differences. In this paper, one such case will be shown namely Korean temporal adverbs ittaga and nazunge, both of which mean “later” in English. These two adverbs are called synonyms. This paper will be also a contrastive study of event aspectuality as expressed in Korean adverbs. The two adverbs ittaga and nazunge differ in the aspectual features of events that are expressed in the verb phrase, and the difference in fact corresponds to that of deictic pronouns such as this and that. Although Lee (2007) has already analyzed the two adverbs in terms of comparison with corresponding Japanese expressions, the paper is the first attempt to show the differences systematically. The hypothesis in this paper is that ittaga and nazunge do not have the same meaning and they are not synonymous. To demonstrate this, the on-line survey has been done. The informants, all Korean native speakers, were asked to judge the choices of temporal adverbs in sentences with various temporal relations. As a result, ittaga is felt appropriate when the event time is within one day from the utterance time. Otherwise, nazunge is used when the event time is over two days. Although the result has been a little different from the intuitional judgment of the author’s, it turns out that there are temporal differences. However, the author recognizes that there are more to the distinction between the two adverbs ittaga and nazunge. This is clearly shown in cases where the action takes place within three days of the utterance. When the action to be taken is good or of no pain for the speaker, ittaga is used, and otherwise, nazunge is used. Some sort of mental distance is relevant to the distinction of the two adverbs. The author believes this to be reminiscent of the distinction of deictic demonstrative pronouns, e.g. Japanese ko “this (close)”, so “that (far from the speaker)”, and a “that (far from both)”. The adverbs are not only temporal. Interestingly enough, even when the action time is far such as one year later, ittaga can be used when it is psychologically close to the speaker. Korean temporal adverbs ittaga and nazunge are reminiscent of distinction of Japanese demonstrative pronouns. Again, it is not merely temporal adverbs which are at issue here.