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Author Lee, Jung Hyuck
Title Individual-level ability and stage-level ability in Korean and English
book jacket
Descript 143 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 67-09, Section: A, page: 3381
Adviser: Anastasia Giannakidou
Thesis (Ph.D.)--The University of Chicago, 2006
This dissertation investigates the semantics of 'ability' modality as conveyed by ability modal expressions. Many scholars have discussed the ambiguity of the modalities between the two readings, i.e., 'ability' and 'possibility' (Cross 1986; McCall 1970; Brand 1970; von Wright 1970; Lewis 1979; Palmer 2001; Chierchia & McConnell-Ginet 2001; Kratzer 2001 etc.). They have all seemed to agree that 'ability' is kind of 'generic', 'abstract' and 'non-spatiotemporal' whereas 'possibility' is related to the notions of space and time. Yet, the genuine property of the two has hardly been analyzed on a solid theoretic foundation
The study, with a goal to clarify the ambiguity of ability modals, is primarily motivated by the need to account for the (a)symmetry in Korean, 'Verb stem + -(u)l swu issta' and 'Verb stem + - (u)l cwul alta'. Both expressions have 'ability' modality, i.e., atemporal ability, which I name 'Individual-level (I-level) ability' (Carlson 1977), without any spatiotemporal modifiers in a sentence. Interestingly, however, only -(u)l swu issta shows the compatibility with a spatiotemporal phrase so that it conveys two additional modality readings; a 'temporally-bound ability', which I name 'Stage-level (S-level) ability' (Carlson 1977) and a 'permissive/deontic possibility' reading, which I call 'possibility'
There are several major claims made regarding the phenomenon in Korean ability modals. The (in)compatibility of the two Korean expressions with respect to a spatiotemporal phrase is caused by the I-level/S-level property of the predicate of each Korean expression. Secondly, this (in)compatibility affects the modality between 'I-level ability' vs. 'S-level ability' and 'possibility'. Thirdly, the different combination of quantificational forces (universal or existential) of each modality over time and world leads a clue to the (in)compatibility of each ability modal with a spatiotemporal phrase
The novel idea of this dissertation is that there are two kinds of ability, i.e., 'Individual-level ability' and 'Stage-level ability'. A finding of 'S-level ability' should be established independently from 'I-level ability' and 'possibility'. The claim mainly based on Korean data is strongly supported by crosslinguistic evidence from English ability modals which present remarkable symmetry with Korean data
School code: 0330
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 67-09A
Subject Language, Linguistics
Alt Author The University of Chicago
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