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The Syntactic and Semantic Ambiguity of Caki 'Self' in Korean

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Abstract. The Korean reflexive Caki 'self is ambiguous semantically and syntactically. This reflex-ive does not always behave as an anaphor or a pronominal. It is often not bound, nor is it consistent in its distribution as would be expected from the alternative view, which regards it as a long-distance anaphor or a pronominal. It is noted in this study, on the other hand, that the behavior of the reflex-ive is ambivalent in two ways. For one, the interpretation of the reflexive is sensitive to its co-occurring predicate and allows the reading of the abstract concept of personhood and individuality along the lines with Safir (1996). For another, the reflexive seems to behave like a Near-reflexive in the sense of Lidz (2001). Given these observations, this study has largely focused its discussion on how inherent reflexivity of predicates and the abstract concept of personhood and individuality of the reflexive may interact in determining the antecedent. It is concluded that the reflexive is a refer-entially independent and lexically idiosyncratic noun when it is conceived of as a "reified" soul, and behaves like a discourse-sensitive reflexive pronoun in other contexts.
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Keywords: Condition R; Korean anaphora; Korean reflexive pronoun; binding theory; minimalism; predicate-centered binding theory; syntactic and semantic ambi-guity

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2006

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