This research was a one-year project to investigate the linguistic representations of spatial concepts in English and Korean from a comparative, cognitive and contrastive approach. Adopting the grammaticalization framework, this work analyzed the diac ...
This research was a one-year project to investigate the linguistic representations of spatial concepts in English and Korean from a comparative, cognitive and contrastive approach. Adopting the grammaticalization framework, this work analyzed the diachronic development of each spatial adposition and their synchronic network, and examined some of the important hypotheses to see if they are well observed in these two typologically different languages.
In the final version of the research paper, various aspects of the spatial grams in English and Korea were compared. We paid special attention to the intra-systemic organization of spatial forms in each language with respect to a number of theoretical issues advanced in grammaticalization and cognitive semantics studies.
As for the grammaticalization hierarchy which supposedly is indicative of the likelihood of grammaticalization of a spatial gram, it has been illustrated that the hierarchy is largely well observed in English in terms of their use primacy. The hierarchy, however, is not observed in Korean, and there are inconsistencies as to the hierarchy conformity depending on the data sources. This is assumed to be largely due to the conflation of various spatial grams with the unmarked ？ey that can be used across categories. In order to find a conclusive answer we may have to analyze the uses of ？ey by semantic distinctions like ？at, in, on, to？ and combine each use frequency with the frequency of the representative postpositions used for that particular spatial concept, which shall be beyond the interest of limited space and thus the scope of this research.
As for the layering phenomenon in English, we noted that there are two different layers: one layer is composed of the primary, older, shorter prepositions, and the other layer is composed of the secondary, newer, longer prepositions. On the other hand, the two different layers in Korean are based on a different distinction: one layer is composed of the putatively older, native Korean postpositions, and the other layer is composed of the putatively newer, Sino-Korean postpositions.
As for functional specialization in English, the primary prepositions usually mark spatial, temporal, and other abstract conceptual entities. And the secondary prepositions almost always mark spatial entities. On the other hand, in Korean, the native Korean postpositions mostly mark the spatial entities, and Sino-Korean postpositions mostly mark temporal and other abstract conceptual entities. This peculiarity suggests that the historical depth of grammaticalization does not necessarily go with the degree of semantic change.
Finally, as for markedness, considering the multiplicity of spatial terms in the organization of spatial concepts according to markedness as suggested by Levinson, the markedness seems to be meaningful both in English and Korean with respect to either multiplicity of forms or the relative token frequencies in holistic terms.