Metonymy in grammar: Korean multiple object constructions

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This article focuses on the conceptual structures of Korean Multiple Object Constructions (MOCs), which exhibit various types of meanings. I argue that these various meanings are systematically explained when we adopt the notion of reference point. I claim that the accusative-marked nominals in the constructions are metonymically connected; outer accusative-marked nominals function as reference points. More specifically, NP1, in the schematic configuration [NP-Nom [NP1-Acc [NP2-Acc [PRED]]]], functions as a reference point in relation to the complex verb [NP 2-PRED], where NP1 provides access to the target. In other words, the function of Korean MOCs is to provide mental access to a target, similar to English possessive constructions. For example, since one natural mental path of access is by following a taxonomic hierarchy from general to specific, the metonymic meaning of the Type-Token construction arises. The same mechanism is then recursively applied to explain the case of multiply-occurring accusativemarked nominals. In order to provide technical analyses of my claim, Langacker's Cognitive Grammar is adopted as a theoretical framework as it accurately captures the properties of the constructions without additional unnecessary mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-63
Number of pages33
JournalFunctions of Language
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 20 2013
Externally publishedYes


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