An intention-based account of accomplishments in Korean




Lee, Juwon

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In this dissertation, I investigate why Korean allows failed-attempt interpretations of accomplishment predicates, but languages like English do not. For example, the English sentence "He broke the window, but the window was not broken" is a contradiction, but the corresponding Korean sentence is possible with the interpretation "He tried to break the window, but the window was not broken." Regarding this problem, I observe two related generalizations: (i) the Subject Realization Generalization (SRG), which states that in the event structure of a verbal predicate, the (sub)event directly related to the predicate’s subject must occur in the actual world, and (ii) the Subject’s Intention Generalization (SIG), stating that non-occurrence of an event requires the subject’s intention regarding the event. I incorporate these generalizations into a possible world semantic analysis, which I argue accounts for various interpretations of accomplishments in Korean. In addition, with regard to complex predicate sentences (e.g. light verb constructions, serial verb constructions), I propose the Event Connection Generalization (ECG), which asserts that in the event structure of a complex predicate sentence, connecting event(s) must occur in the actual world. I also argue that the intention-based account is not just restricted to a certain class of lexical verbs that project accomplishment predicates, but a broader class of accomplishments involving complex predicates in Korean.



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