Modifying plurals, classifiers, and co-occurrence: the case of Korean
Kyumin Kim, Paul B. Melchin
October 2017

This paper argues that the Korean plural marker –tul is best analyzed as a modifier to the nP projection, rather than as a head in the nominal extended projection such as Num or Div(ision), which a standard pluralizer (e.g., English –s) realizes. As a modifier, plural –tul bears the privative feature [plural], rather than the binary feature [±plural] reserved for a plural that realizes a head. Supporting evidence comes from the fact that the presence of –tul leads to an obligatorily plural reading, while a number-neutral reading obtains in its absence; –tul also shows no evidence of inflectional properties. Appearing as an adjunct to nP, –tul shows certain idiosyncrasies, such as irregularities in the range of nouns that it can occur with. Evidence against the common claim that –tul is associated with a definite reading is provided, which suggests that it cannot realize D or adjoin to DP. The major consequence of this paper is that the often observed non-co-occurrence of classifiers and plural markers is predicted only when the relation between the two morphemes is in syntactic complementary distribution, but may not be when the relation is in merely semantic complementary distribution.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003724
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: to appear in Glossa
keywords: pluralizer –tul; modifying plural; head plural; numeral classifiers; co-occurrence, syntax
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