A corpus-based study on contrast and concessivity of the connective ‑ciman in Korean

Hye-Kyung Lee


Providing a corpus-based analysis of the contrastive connective -ciman in Korean, this study demonstrates that global connections are as frequent as local connections as opposed to previous literature. In representing various senses possible with a -ciman connection, this study adopts a fuzzy representation, where meanings range from conceptual to discoursal. The identified meanings include explicit contrast, denial of expectation, speech act hedges and idiomatic expressions. The fuzzy representation is supported for at least two reasons. First, categorization of some cases is often blurred. Second, it can better capture the relatedness of various meanings whose enduring sense concerns ‘contrast’. It is further revealed that interpretations of -ciman phrases are compositionally made with co-occurring linguistic units. The “pragmatic” meanings of -ciman constructions are explained in terms of different levels of representations in which the contrast occurs. We further investigate the possibility of -ciman as a stance/discourse marker with accompanying expressions.

Publication history
Table of contents

Contrast consists of a range of phenomena cross-linguistically. Predominantly, these notions are realized by lexical devices such as the English words but or nevertheless. In addition to lexical methods, discourse contrast or concessivity can be achieved by use of a future tense in non-temporal use, especially in Romance languages (Baranzini and Mari 2019). Moreover, contrastive markers strongly resonate with epistemic modality, because contrastive markers can help the speaker distance herself from the propositional content. At the same time, contrast involves a series of arguments in which one point of view is presented in a provisional way, and then necessarily followed by a segment “advancing the opinion favored by the speaker” (Zafiu 2018, 117).

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