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LINGUIST List 19.1521

Thu May 08 2008

Diss: Semantics: Choi: 'Free Choice and Negative Polarity: A compos...'

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        1.    Jinyoung Choi, Free Choice and Negative Polarity: A compositional analysis of Korean polarity sensitive items


Message 1: Free Choice and Negative Polarity: A compositional analysis of Korean polarity sensitive items
Date: 08-May-2008
From: Jinyoung Choi <choi.jinyounggmail.com>
Subject: Free Choice and Negative Polarity: A compositional analysis of Korean polarity sensitive items
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Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Jinyoung Choi

Dissertation Title: Free Choice and Negative Polarity: A compositional analysis of Korean polarity sensitive items

Linguistic Field(s): Semantics

Subject Language(s): Korean (kor)

Dissertation Director:
Maribel Romero

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation addresses the following three questions regarding
polarity sensitivity.

- What is the nature of the relationship between NPIs and FCIs? What forms
the common core of Polarity Sensitive Items (PSIs)?
- If there is a common core, is it derived from only one source or could
there be more than one source? How many sources can be detected in natural
language?
- What makes the distinction between NPIs and FCIs?

In an attempt to answer these questions, this dissertation investigates
Korean PSIs, where it is transparent from the morphology which part is
common to FCIs and NPIs and which components are responsible for
differentiating them. Korean PSIs consist of one of the two indefinite
roots, amwu- and wh-, and one of the three particles, -to 'also/even',
-lato 'even' and -na 'or'. Combining these components results in the six
items: amwu-(N)-to/-lato/-na and wh-(N)-to/-lato/-na.

I propose that the Korean indefinite root amwu- induces 'proper
domain-widening' à la Kadmon and Landman (1993), and that the other root
wh- does not induce domain-widening but rather ranges over a regular or a
contextually salient domain. From the fact that all the wh-PSIs, which lack
the property of domain-widening, still function as NPIs or FCIs, I suggest
that the 'proper domain-widening' of amwu- is not a necessary condition for
polarity sensitivity, and propose that it is the particles -na, -to, and
-lato that are responsible for deriving NPI-hood/FC-ness in Korean. All
these particles commonly yield a 'no matter wh…' or 'indifference' reading.

Furthermore, I argue that two kinds of sources of PSIs are observable in
Korean. The first source is the disjunctive particle -na 'or', which I
analyze as equivalent to English -ever in a subtype of -ever free
relatives. Their semantic contributions are formulated with the
presupposition of counterfactual variation (von Fintel, 2000), from which
an indifference reading is inferred. The second source is the scalar focus
particles -to, which is analyzed as 'PPI-even' (Rooth, 1985), and -lato,
which is analyzed as 'NPI-even' (Guerzoni, 2003). I show that the
combination of the presuppositions that the even-particles trigger derives
an indifference reading.



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