The 'imperfective' in attributive clauses in Korean as a window into the evidential past and the metaphysical future

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Abstract

This article discusses the temporal interpretation of two attributive clause markers in Korean -te-un and -nu-un, which are standardly analyzed as carrying past imperfective and present imperfective meanings, respectively. I show that -te-un and -nu-un carry not only temporal but also modal/evidential meanings and they do so in ways hitherto unnoticed. I claim that -te-un presents an eventuality from a retrospective point of view, providing a window into what I call 'an evidential past', whereas -nu-un does so from a projective point of view, providing a window into what I call 'a metaphysical future'. The findings of this paper suggest that the line between Tense, Aspect, Mood, and Evidentiality can be blurrier in some languages than in others, and that when interpreting attributive clauses, what is construed as the viewpoint holder and in which direction the viewpoint is headed relative to some temporal anchor may matter greatly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-379
Number of pages40
JournalStudies in Language
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Aspect
  • Attributive clauses
  • Evidentiality
  • Imperfective
  • Korean
  • Modality
  • Projective
  • Retrospective
  • Tense

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