From self-talk to grammar. The emergence of multiple paradigms from self-quoted questions in Korean


Abstract – Korean has a large inventory of sentence-final particles and connectives whose origins are ultimately traceable to quotative constructions. Certain self-quoted questions which appear in the form of a direct quote, i.e. those without any linkers to the host clause, developed into modal markers in conjunction with adjacent verbs in the main clause, thus becoming far removed from their original quotative function. Most of these modal markers also began to develop into clausal connectives simply by having their collocational sentence enders replaced with connectives. In a more dramatic fashion, the self-quoted questions formed a paradigm of connectives, dramatic in that they appear in bare form with no host verbs. The question markers were structurally reinterpreted as connectives and acquired functions from pragmatic inference in relation to a context. This development is largely due to the role of discursive strategies and also involves functional change, attributable to analogy. The development of these constructions triggered the development of multiple forms in other paradigms through analogy by virtue of their semantic and morphosyntactic resemblances. These constructions grammaticalized into grammatical markers in the semantic domains of evidentiality, epistemicity and emotional stance, such as inferential evidentiality, speaker’s tentativeness in volition, evaluation of states of affairs, apprehensive emotion, etc., as well as the more discursive functions of dramatizing a narrative or engaging the audience by means of feigned interactivity, i.e. posing self-raised questions and volunteering answers to these. This paper analyzes the grammaticalization processes based on the data taken from a historical corpus.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v31p255

Keywords: self-talk; grammaticalization; multiple paradigms; stance; feigned interactivity


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