International Journal of

Arts , Humanities & Social Science

ISSN 2693-2547 (Print) , ISSN 2693-2555 (Online)
On Korean Pronouns and Korean Null Arguments: a Merge-based Analysis

Abstract


The ultimate goal of this paper is to explain the difference between Korean overt pronouns and Korean null arguments in terms of Merge, and Transfer. A major point to note is that Korean pronouns are sensitive to phi-features, whereas Korean null arguments are not. The Korean pronouns ku ‘he’ and ku-tul ‘they’ match their antecedents for phi-features, whereas Korean null arguments cannot. A further point to note is that there are differences in interpretive behavior between Korean pronouns and Korean null arguments. First, the Korean plural pronoun ku-tul ‘they’ and Korean null arguments function as a bound variable, whereas the Korean singular pronoun ku ‘he’ cannot. Second, the peculiar property of Korean pronouns and Korean null arguments can be observed within opaque contexts. Third, the Korean pronoun ku-tul ‘they’ can have overlapping reference, whereas Korean null arguments cannot. Fourth, the Korean pronoun ku-tul ‘they’ and Korean null arguments permit split antecedence, but they are different from each other. Fifth, the Korean pronoun ku ‘they’ induces an indirect thought, whereas Korean null arguments yields a direct thought. This paper argues that these five properties of Korean pronouns and Korean null arguments can be captured by embedded predicates, Merge, and Transfer.