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Disjunction in Kannada and Korean

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Abstract. This paper compares disjunction in Kannada and Korean and examines the morpho-syntactic properties of it in these languages, focusing on Kannada -oo/illa and Korean -na. Kannada and Korean are genealogically unrelated, but share SOV word order. It is thus expected that the disjunction head follow its complement. Indeed, Kannada -oo and Korean -na follow their comple-ments. What is truly intriguing is that it shows surprisingly parallel properties. For example, Kan-nada -oo and Korean -na not only yield disjunction but also invoke indirect question interpretation. That is, both of them are used as a disjunctive conjunct as well as a question marker. In this paper, we examine the parallels and differences between the disjunction in these languages and show that the conjunctive and disjunctive reading is expressed in different modes. Under the present analysis, we can readily explain the indirect question formation, wh-scope marking, and the dummy wh-phrases in the oo-complementation. We also show that the existential quantifier interpretation of wh-indefinites plus -oo can be accounted for, assuming -oo to be a wh-question marker. Unlike what Amritavalli (2003) predicts, wh-indefinites plus disjunctive morpheme yields universal quantifier interpretations in languages like English, Japanese, and Korean.

Keywords: -illa; -na; -oo; Kannada; Korean; conjunctive reading; disjunction; disjunctive reading; existential quantifier interpretation; indirect question interpretation; wh-indefinite

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-01-01

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