Korean Relative Clauses: Metonymy, Zone Activation, and Reference Point*

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This article develops an analysis of three types of Korean Relative Clauses (RCs) from a Cognitive Grammar perspective. The three types under examination are the Internally Headed RC Construction (IHRCC), the Externally Headed RC Construction (EHRCC), and the Double RC Construction (DRCC) which is a subtype of the EHRCC. It is demonstrated that the notion of metonymy helps us properly tease out the nature and provide a uniform account of the hitherto neglected Korean RC constructions. The “mismatch” observed between the syntactic object and the semantic head in the IHRCC is nothing but a case of the active-zone/profile discrepancy. The putative island constraint or subjacency violations in the EHRC and the DRCC are not an issue because the head nominals in those examples are associated with reference points that are exocentrically-created and thus exist outside of the inner RCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-314
Number of pages40
JournalStudia Linguistica
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes

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