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Event Structure Analysis of the English Middle Construction: A Comparative Perspective
Reports NRF is supported by Research Projects( Event Structure Analysis of the English Middle Construction: A Comparative Perspective | 2004 Year | 이명옥(성균관대학교) ) data is submitted to the NRF Project Results
Researcher who has been awarded a research grant by Humanities and Social Studies Support Program of NRF has to submit an end product within 6 months(* depend on the form of business)
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  • Researchers have entered the information directly to the NRF of Korea research support system
Project Number A00060
Year(selected) 2004 Year
the present condition of Project 종료
State of proposition 재단승인
Completion Date 2008년 12월 30일
Year type 결과보고
Year(final report) 2008년
Research Summary
  • Korean
  • 영어 중간문은 수동자의 속성을 기술하는 구조로 잘 알려져 있다. 이러한 구조를 갖는 언어들은 동일한 기능을 수행하기 위해 각기 다른 통사적 장치를 취하게 되는데 영어와 같은 언어들은 능동 동사를 그대로 사용하여 수동적 속성을 기술하는가 하면 국어를 비롯한 독일어, 러시아어, 화란어, 그리고 만다린 중국어와 캐나다 불어의 경우에는 굴절 접사나 재귀접사 혹은 중간 접사등과 같은 유표적 장치를 동반한다.
    비록 중간문의 명칭이 영어에서와 같이 능동의 형태를 취하면서도 수동의 의미를 전달한다는 데서 비롯되기는 했지만 범언어적으로는 중간문이 영어 중간문의 경우를 포함하여 행위에 책임을 지니는 주체의 피영향성을 묘사한다는 측면에서 의미적 포괄성을 드러낸다. 중간문은 주어인 수동자가 내포된 사건들에 의해 영향을 받는 대상이지만 사건의 성공 여부는 수동자의 능력에 의존하게 되는 의미적 특성을 갖기 때문이다.
    이 논문은 중간문의 이러한 의미 전달 기능에 초점을 맞추어 중간문의 주어인 수동자의 피영향적 속성이 의미층에서 어떻게 형성되는가를 밝히는 데 그 목적을 두고 있다. 중간문 수동자의 속성은, 의도를 지닌 행위자의 개입을 전제하지만 수동자의 능력에 기대는 사건들이 내면층에서 순환적 구조를 이루게 되고 이에 따라 내부 논항이 순환적으로 영향을 받게 되어 외부화를 실현함으로써 가능해진다. 그런데 국어 피동의 한 하위 유형 역시 영향받은 주어의 속성을 나타내고 이러한 속성이 내면층 사건의 집합에 근거하고 있다. 따라서 이 논문에서는 이와 같은 구조를 국어 중간 피동문으로 정의하고 범언어적으로 정의된 중간문의 범위안에 포함시켜 영어 중간문과 비교 논의 함으로써 중간문 사건구조의 순환적 특성이 보편적임을 입증한다.
    한편 국어의 중간 피동이 하나의 독립적인 하위 유형으로서 논의되기 위해서는 일반적 개념의 국어 피동과는 어떻게 다른지 또 영어 중간문과는 어떠한 공통점을 나타내는지 살펴 볼 필요가 있다. 따라서 이 논문은 먼저 수동자 속성 기술 구조로서의 국어 중간 피동이 나타내는 형태 통사적 특징들인, ① 주어의 주제격 표지 동반, ② 용이 부사의 출현, ③ 단순시제로의 제한 및 ④ 비총칭적 행위자의 후치사구를 통한 통사적 실현을 근거로 여타의 일반적 피동 (이 논문에서는 전형적 피동과 능격 피동) 으로부터 국어 중간 피동을 독립시키고 나아가 영어의 중간문과 더불어 나타내는 중간문으로서의 특징들 (① 동사의 이중적 의미수가, ② 비총칭적 행위자의 통사적 실현, ③ 내부 논항의 외부화, ④ 행위 동사의 상태 기술, ⑤ 가능의 양태, ⑥ 수식어 동반)을 밝혀낸다.
    그리고 이 두 구조가 지니는 내면의 순환적 사건 구조를 [+PTEL], [-TER], [+REB]의 세 요소와 이 요소들이 순차적으로 관여하는 여과 과정(filtering process)에 의해 분석한다; ① [+PTEL]—potential telicity feature: 동사 단독의 상적 구성 (aspectual composition) 요소로서 중간문 내면층의 집합적 사건 간의 종결을 알리며 중간문 형성에 참여하는 동사가 일차적으로 만족시켜야 하는 요소이다. ② [-TER]—non-terminativity feature: [+PTEL]를 만족시킨 동사라 하더라도 사건의 이행을 통해 결과적 변화 상태를 남기지 않고 사건의 최종적 완료를 내포하는 [+TER] 동사들은 이차 여과 과정을 통과하지 못한다. 이 요소 역시 동사의 상적 정보에 포함되어 있으며 어떠한 내부 논항과도 중간문을 형성하지 못하게 된다. ③ [+REB]—reboundability feature: 이 요소는 앞의 두 요소를 만족시킨 동사들이 그 내부 논항과의 사이에서 반복적 관계가 예측될 때 형성된다. 그러나 이와 같은 관계의 형성은 화자의 직관이나 세상적 판단에 근거하여 결정된다. 한편 이 세 요소들이 모두 만족되면 내부 논항은 외부화하게 되고 표면화된 중간문은 주어의 속성인 일종의 상태를 기술하는 구조로 드러나게 된다.

  • English
  • The English middle is well-known as a structure to express a property of a patient. In performing the same function, different languages seem to take different syntactic devices. More particularly, one group of languages including English employs unmarked active verb forms but the other group of languages including Korean makes use of marked verb forms. As for the latter, the ways of markedness are different from language to language; to convey a property of a patient, languages like Dutch, German, and Russian use verbs with a reflexive morpheme whereas those like Mandarin Chinese and Canadian French use an affix. Similarly, Korean verbs are associated with an inflectional morpheme.
    Although the name, ‘middle’, has been given based on ‘an active verb passes on a passive meaning’, it also has significance in the respect that an entity whose ability determines success of the event is the one affected by the event. Focussing on the latter semantic function, the structures above are defined as the middle construction in this thesis; the middle is a structure that expresses an acted-upon property of a sentential subject.
    This thesis investigates the event structure that the middle implies at the underlying level. A property of a patient in the middle is formed on the basis of a potential event set which recursively arise at the semantic level. In this respect, one sub-type of the Korean passive can be included in the universal middle; it displays a property of an affected subject and this property is derived from the underlying set of events.
    To prove the recursiveness of the middle is a universal factor, this thesis chooses the sub-type of the Korean passive naming it as the Korean middle passive and discloses the lay-out of its underlying event structure with that of the English middle.
    The recursive event structure of the middle is unveiled through a filtering process; a) [+PTEL]—potential telicity feature of a verb: it refers to the telicity that segregates the potential events underlain in the middle construction. b) [-TER]—non-terminativity feature of a verb: it is the opposite feature of [+TER]. The event described by [+TER] verbs imply complete terminations. c) [+REB]—reboundability feature of VP: it determines a recursive relation between the event and the internal argument. When the event structure of the middle meets the conditions in the filtering order, the highest VP becomes atelic and be ready to describe a state—a property of the middle subject.
    On the other hand, since the event structure is assumed only in the semantic tier, it is discussed and proved that the middle is a result of a syntactic movement; the internal argument of the middle is base generated from the VP internal position and lands on the sentential subject position. In this respect, the middle deserves a member of the IAESs (internal argument externalizing structures) with the passive and the ergative.
    However, since the middle’s internal argument has distinctive reasons to externalize, examination on the IAESs’ underlying transitivity is followed; among the underlying transitivity features of participant, kinesis, agentivity, volitionality, and affectedness, the latter three factors turn out essential to enable the externalization of the middle’s internal argument.
    Also, discussed are the legitimate reasons to single the Korean middle passive out from the general Korean passive; the distinctiveness that the Korean middle passive has is released in case marking, adverbials, tenses, and postpositional phrases to mark a specific agent.

Research result report
  • Abstract
  • The English middle is well-known as a structure to express a property of a patient. In performing the same function, different languages seem to take different syntactic devices. More particularly, one group of languages including English employs unmarked active verb forms but the other group of languages including Korean makes use of marked verb forms. As for the latter, the ways of markedness are different from language to language; to convey a property of a patient, languages like Dutch, German, and Russian use verbs with a reflexive morpheme whereas those like Mandarin Chinese and Canadian French use an affix. Similarly, Korean verbs are associated with an inflectional morpheme.
    Although the name, ?iddle? has been given based on ?n active verb passes on a passive meaning? it also has significance in the respect that an entity whose ability determines success of the event is the one affected by the event. Focussing on the latter semantic function, the structures above are defined as the middle construction in this thesis; the middle is a structure that expresses an acted-upon property of a sentential subject.
    This thesis investigates the event structure that the middle implies at the underlying level. A property of a patient in the middle is formed on the basis of a potential event set which recursively arise at the semantic level. In this respect, one sub-type of the Korean passive can be included in the universal middle; it displays a property of an affected subject and this property is derived from the underlying set of events.
    To prove the recursiveness of the middle is a universal factor, this thesis chooses the sub-type of the Korean passive naming it as the Korean middle passive and discloses the lay-out of its underlying event structure with that of the English middle.
    The recursive event structure of the middle is unveiled through a filtering process; a) [+PTEL]?otential telicity feature of a verb: it refers to the telicity that segregates the potential events underlain in the middle construction. b) [-TER]?on-terminativity feature of a verb: it is the opposite feature of [+TER]. The event described by [+TER] verbs imply complete terminations. c) [+REB]?eboundability feature of VP: it determines a recursive relation between the event and the internal argument. When the event structure of the middle meets the conditions in the filtering order, the highest VP becomes atelic and be ready to describe a state? property of the middle subject.
    On the other hand, since the event structure is assumed only in the semantic tier, it is discussed and proved that the middle is a result of a syntactic movement; the internal argument of the middle is base generated from the VP internal position and lands on the sentential subject position. In this respect, the middle deserves a member of the IAESs (internal argument externalizing structures) with the passive and the ergative.
    However, since the middle? internal argument has distinctive reasons to externalize, examination on the IAESs?underlying transitivity is followed; among the underlying transitivity features of participant, kinesis, agentivity, volitionality, and affectedness, the latter three factors turn out essential to enable the externalization of the middle? internal argument.
    Also, discussed are the legitimate reasons to single the Korean middle passive out from the general Korean passive; the distinctiveness that the Korean middle passive has is released in case marking, adverbials, tenses, and postpositional phrases to mark a specific agent.
  • Research result and Utilization method
  • This investigation on the middle constructions of English and Korean has turned out that the middle construction bear the following characteristics: a) the middle conveys a certain acted-upon property of the logical subject. b) it includes semantic commonalities where agent and patient cooperate in some ways; agent is involved as an event initiator but the success of the event depends on the patient's ability. c) it implies recursive event structure at the underlying level. More specifically, the most important function that the middle construction performs is to express an affected subject's property. And to play this important role, it necessarily implies two arguments--agent and patient, and an recursive event frame in the underlying structure. This dissertation has focused on examining how the middle event is formed in the underlying structure and the result has ended up with "the recursiveness".

    Although one type of the Korean passive which is named as the Korean middle passive in this dissertation is different from the English middle consrtruction in the verb form, it shares the underlying event structure with English as well as other languages such as Mandarin Chinese, Dutch, German, Canadian french and others; these languages make use of the corresponding middle markers or reflexive morphemes to express an acted-upon property of the sentential subject. That is, as seen in the case of Korean, the middle can subsume wider range of structures when it relies on the semantic characteristics like the recursive event structure rather than when it relies on the morphological similarities.

    On the other hand, it may also be worthy to find out this semantic middle in different languages and to prove how differently the languages realize the middle; what grammatical forms are involved in each language to do the same function. For example, to realize the middle construction which has a recursive event structure fabricated with the existence of agent and patient, Korean takes some distinctive grammatical forms unlike the other types of the passive; the Korean middle passive employs a topic marker instead of a nominative marker for the subject and a special form of postpositional phrase to indicate the existence of an overt agent.

    Like the case of Korean, it may be possible to catch morphological peculiarities arising from the middle structure where recursiveness is implied in the underlying event lay-out in any language. Further on, it may also be disclosed that some of the morphological features are shared cross-linguistically but others remain as language specific features. In addition, certain features shared among languages while conveying the middle's semantics may provide grammatical inter-relationship among languages where we can find the related grammatical phenomena: the changes of verb forms for different voices, different case systems, the uses of modifications, implied modals and others.
  • Index terms
  • Key words: event structure, affectedness, potential telicity, terminativity, reboundability.
  • List of digital content of this reports
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