Cognitive realization markers in Korean: A discourse-pragmatic study of the sentence-ending particles -kwun, -ney and -tela

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Abstract

This article proposes that the sentence enders -kwun, -ney, and -tela form a natural class of evidential (more specifically, mirative) markers in Korean. All three signal that an immediate consciousness shift has taken place within the speaker. The shift is touched off by an external sensory and/or inferential trigger within the realm of the speaker's direct experience which effects an instantaneous cognitive realization. In the case of -kwun and -ney, the trigger and its consequent consciousness shift occur at the moment of speech; in the case of -tela, the consciousness shift and realization occurred in the past and emerges in the re-telling of past-time narratives. The literature treats -kwun and -ney as epistemic modals, and -tela (albeit marginally) as a hearsay evidential, but not a mirative. Moreover, traditional accounts of Korean grammar overwhelmingly blend evidentiality and epistemic modality into a single notion. It is argued here that, particularly in the case of Korean, epistemic modality and evidentiality represent two very different phenomena and should be treated as such since their functions of reflecting the speaker's belief states and knowledge states are markedly different. The target particles -kwun, -ney, and -tela, classified as mirative markers, provide preliminary evidence in support of this claim.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-480
Number of pages44
JournalLanguage Sciences
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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