There are at least two conflicting views as to the number of -kas found in Korean. Schütze (2001) claims that there are two kas -- a nominative case marker and a focus marker, which can be used to distinguish ka from that ‘stacked on top of‘ the ...
There are at least two conflicting views as to the number of -kas found in Korean. Schütze (2001) claims that there are two kas -- a nominative case marker and a focus marker, which can be used to distinguish ka from that ‘stacked on top of‘ the dative -eykey. Following Yoon’s (2001) argument, I define that the latter has [+foc] while the former, [+nom].
Contrary to Schütze’s claim, Yoon (2001) argues for one morpheme with two functions: [+nom] and [+nom, +foc]. Under Yoon’s (2001) analysis, the -ka can be the [+nom] or the [+nom, +foc], which indicates a non-nominative subject. Though both of these analyses have merits, only Yoon’s analysis passes the Cleft Copula Construction (CC) test, where no element with [+nom] can appear immediately before the copula.
This test demonstrates that Yoon’s analysis, where -ka can function as either [+nom] or [+nom, +foc], can account for why -ka cannot appear immediately before the copula, whereas Schütze’s analysis cannot explain why the focus marker -ka cannot occur in the CC. Hence, Yoon’s analysis seems to be better able to describe the grammatical properties of -ka in Korean. However, it still cannot explain the full extent of the -ka phenomena. When the -ka is attached to the locative PP, it can occur just before the copula.
In this paper, I assert that there is a third use of -ka whose function is to focus on the non-subject to which it is attached. So I argue that in Korean, -ka functions in three different ways: ka1 and ka2 stand for [+nom, +/-foc] and [-nom, +foc], respectively.
Specifically, ka1 with [+nom, +/-foc] can occur either in the normal subject position or in a so-called case-stacking position headed by existential predicates. However, ka2 of ‘(-ta)ka’ with [-nom, +foc] may occur with predicates requiring various thematic roles such as Locative or Instrumental ones. To support my claim that there is a third use of -ka in which it functions as a pure focus marker, I will provide data on its working applications.
Furthermore, if the claim that the dative is considered to be not a structural case but an oblique case, following Choi (2004), is accepted, various case alternation with -eykey can be easily analyzed.