Adjective Ordering Restrictions: The View from Korean

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter, I apply several well-established typological generalizations on adjective ordering to Korean and examine how the language behaves with regard to them. Our probing will show that one of the deciding factors in linearizing Korean N modifiers is not which one is a color/size-term and which one is a shape/quality-term, but rather which one is phonologically heavier or morpho-syntactically more complex. Meaning-related factors are also shown to play a role, however, and whenever an unexpected order obtains, an intonational break is obligatory after the “offending” constituent. Another notable finding will be that, in Korean, the categorial status of an N modifier may impact its surface position inside a DP relative to other N modifiers. On the basis of these findings, I identify four factors governing adjective ordering in Korean, thereby paving the road for the theoretical analyses to be presented in Chaps. 4 and 5.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages30
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameStudies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory
ISSN (Print)0924-4670
ISSN (Electronic)2215-0358


  • Adjective ordering
  • Discourse-pragmatic factors
  • Morpho-syntactic complexity
  • Phonological weight
  • Typological generalizations


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