Syntax and Morphology of Temporal-Aspectual Constructions in Korean
Abstract. Verbal nouns in Korean exhibit properties of both nouns and verbs in that they assign both verbal and nominal cases to the arguments. Such mixed categorial behavior of verbal nouns is manifest only in certain environments, namely in the complement position of ha (a so-called light verb in Korean) and in the complement position of aspectual morphemes such as cwung 'during', cen 'before', and hwu 'after. Due to their mixed properties, the categorial status of verbal nouns in these environments has long been an issue of debate. This paper mainly discusses temporal-aspectual constructions, and proposes that they can be distinguished into three types, Types A, B, and C. Each type of temporal-aspectual construction has a different morpho-syntactic structure. The paper further claims that verbal nouns are inherently unspecified for their grammatical category (following Alexiadou 1997, 1998, Halle and Marantz 1993, and van Hout and Roeper 1998 among others), and different morpho-syntactic structures trigger different categorial status of verbal nouns in these environments. The complex categorial behavior of verbal nouns in temporal-aspectual constructions, then, is not only explained under the analysis proposed in this paper but is also expected.
Keywords: verbal case, underspecification, category, aspectual morphemes, temporal-aspectual constructions, verbal nouns, unspecification, nominal case, light verb (constructions)
Published online: 01 January 2004