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Kyung-Sook Chung
B.A., Pusan National University, 1985
M.A.. Pusan National University, 1987
in the Depamnent
O Kyung-Sook Chung 1999
October 1999
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Cross-linguistically the general concept of tense makes use of the deictic center, the
speech time or the present moment. Present, past, and future means that a time reference,
usually the situation or event time, is simultaneous with. anterior to, or posterior to the deictic
center. However, these three temporal relations are not enough to account for the various tense
phenomena in the world's languages. In addition to these absolute tenses. we must refer to
relative tense (Comrie 1985). which has reference points other than the deictic center. A third
time point. the reference point (Reichenbach 1947) or shifted secondary deictic center, is
needed to account for relative tense. In this thesis, I show that the notions absolute and relative
tcnse can be given a precise semantic and syntactic structure when conceived of as deictic and
anaphoric tense respextively.
First, I discuss the need for anaphoric tense in addition to deictic tense and show how
languages utilize these two concepts. Next, I show how these concepts can be used to provide
an analysis of some complex tense phenomena in Korean. There has been a lot of confusion
concerning the Korean verbal inflection suffixes since they do not correspond to the inflectional
system of western languages. I suggest that the Korean verbal inflection system has two levels.
a speaker-addressee-oriented level and a situation (event)-oriented level. The so called
"retrospective marker" -te-, are speaker-addressee-oriented,while other tenses, for example the
so called "past tense" or "perfect" -m-,is situation-oriented. ft follows that TE tense is a
deictic tense whereas other tenses are anaphoric. I show that TE tense never denotes situation
time but rather the speaker's past-shifted viewpoint-the
reference point is a past-shifted deictic
center, unlike other simple deictic tenses, which denote either a situation time or a reference
Using the concepts of deictic and anaphoric tense. I develop a syntactic structure of
tense interpretation, following the pndicative theory of tense (Stowell 1995, 1996, and others)
in which tense is like a predicate in that it always has a subject-like temporal a r g u m e n t 4
deictic center- and an object-like temporal argument -the situation time. Here,anaphoric
tense means that its (subject-Like) external argument is linked to the (object-Ue) internal
argument of a higher tense yielding a pattern of coreference reminiscent of the coreferential
relationship between nominals and their anaphon. I show how the two notions of tense can be
translated into a two-tiered syntactic structure and how this structure not only accounts for the
Korean phenomena but also provides a straightforward account of English perfect tense and the
mle of sequence of tenses in English.
Recognition of the essential difference between deictic tense and anaphoric tense not
only allows for a systematic treatment of complex tense phenomena in Korean and other
languages but it also allows for a formal representation of tense structure in terms of familiar
syntactic configuration.
To the memory of my mother
I am deeply grateful to Donna Gerdts, my senior supervisor, for her hearty, intellectual,
and financial support. I am greatly indebted to her for her encouragement and concern. I owe a
great deal to Charles Ulrich too. He advised me on the right style of writing, helped me with
my infelicitous and inconsistent English, and proofread the rial draft.
I would like to express sincere thanks to the members of my thesis committee, Nancy
Hedberg and Rejean Canac-Marquis. ! also would like to thank all the professon, staff
members, and all my colleague students, who helped and advised me in some ways.
My special thanks go to my parents, my brother, my sister, and my in-laws, especially
my mother-in-law, for their emotional and practical support. Finally, I cannot thank my
husband Sang-Baek and my daughter Chung-Won too much for their encouragement, patience,
and steadfast support. Without these all, this thesis could not have been written.
All errors in this thesis are mine.
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Figures
List of Abbreviations
1.1. The grammaticalization of Tense
1.2 Tense and Aspect as a Deictic System
1.3. Deictic and Anaphoric Tense
1.4. The Third Time Point
1.4.1. Reichenbach (1947)
1A.2. Schopf (1989)
1.4.3. Smith (199 l), Hornstein (1990), and McGilvray (1 99 1)
1.4.4. Klein (1994)
1.4.5. The Reference Point
1.5. Summary
2.1. The Korean Predicate System
2.1.1. Situation-Oriented Suffixes and Speaker-Oriented Suffixes
2.1.2. Korean Verb Classification Dik's (1994) and Smith's (1991) Classifications Suh's (1 994) Korean Verbs Classification Three Parameters: 'Static', 'Agentive', and 'Telic' Verbs of State Process Verbs Verbs of Activity
2.2. Aspects in Korean
2.2.1. The Resultative Marker -EISS2.2.2. The Progressive Marker -KO ISS2.3. Korean Tense Markers
2.3.1. The Speaker-OrientedTense and Shifted Reference Point
2.3.2. Situation-Oriented Tense Markers Anaphoric Resent Tense Anaphoric Past Tense -ESS2., -ESS-ESS2.3.2.3. Anaphoric Future Tense
2.3.3. Two-Tiered Tense Structure
2.4. Summary
2.5. Korean in Cross-linguistic Perspective
3.1. The Predicative Theory of Tense.
The Structure of Deictic and Anaphoric Tense
The Structure of Korean Tenses
The Perfect Tense
The Rule of Seqwnce of Tenses in English
An Inventory of Possible tenses
Table 1 :
Table 2:
Table 3:
Table 4:
Table 5:
Table 6:
Table 7:
Korean Verbal Mection
Dik's (1994)Typology of States of Affairs
Smith's (1 99 1) Typology of Situations
Suh's (19%) Classification of Korean Verb
Two Subtypes of Process Verbs in Korean
Classification of Korean Predicates
Aspect and Tense Markers and Korean Verb Classes
Figure 1: Paths of Developments to Simple Past and Perfective
Figure 2: Paths to Development to Future
A. A m
L m
P. A m '
S. A
Anterior Attributive
Deferential Particle
Honorific Nominative
Informal Ending
Negative (Particle)
Posterior Attributive
Simultaneous Attributive
Tense has been a major topic in linguistics and philosophy. However, it remains
theoretically controversial. It has not received a unified account in literature. This mans that
there is little agreement on what tense is, how many tenses a language has, or whether tense
should be dealt with only in terms of semdntics and pragmatics or also in the syntax.
Generally languages make use of the concept of absolute tense, where present, past,
and future mean that the situation or event time is simultaneous with, anterior to, or posterior
to the deictic center or the speech time. The problem is that, in addition to absolute tense,
languages have a different kind of tense, relative tense, which does not have the speech point
as its reference point (Comrie 1985). Ln this thesis, instead of the concepts of absolute and
relative tense, I make use the concepts of deictic and anaphoric tense, in order to give more
explicit temporal interpretation. since the latter terms imply smcturally closer relationships.
This thesis has three goals. The first is to defme tense as a relational category that
takes two timereferring points or intervals. In other words, tense itself is not a referential
category, but rather it relates two referential time points. The second is to redefine tense
using the notions of deictic and anaphoric tense, and to give a typology of tense using these
definitions. The third is to develop the semantics of tense into syntax. Thus. this thesis
considers two levels, the semantics and the syntax of tense. Most of the data in this thesis are
drawn from Korean, though several other languages are referred to where relevant
I give an account of several Korean tense suffiies that have been controversial due to
their unique characteristics. I also discuss problematic issues such as perfect tense and the
Rule of Sequence of Tenses in English. This thesis proposes that every tense has its own
inherent semantics whether it is deictic or anaphoric, and this inherent meaning of tense
determines which temporal points a given tense takes. Further, I propose that the inherent
meaning of a given tense can be modified by the situation type and by its hierarchical
position, as represented in the syntactic structure.
The organization of this thesis is as follows. Chapter I addresses the differences
between tense and aspect and between two types of tense, deictic tense and anaphoric tense,
and surveys several definitions of reference point and situation time. I illustrate the
redundancy of Reichenbach's (1947) event point and reference point in simple tenses. I
show that the reference point has a dual function. It has a simple time reference in deictic
tenses. Also, it is a shifted (secondary) deictic center in anaphoric tense. This study m l e s
crucial use of the secondary function of the reference point.
Chapter 2 examines the Korean tense markers and the Korean predicate system. I
suggest that Korean inflectional suffixes, such as honorific, aspect, tense, and mood
suffixes, can be distributed into two levels, situation (event)-orientedand speaker-addresseeoriented. Hence Korean has two types of tenses, situation-oriented and speaker-addresseeoriented. 1 propose that the so-called "retrospectivr: tense" marker -re- is a speaker-addresseeoriented tense and does not denote a situation time, unlike simple deictic tenses in other
languages. I show that this speaker-addressee-orientedproperty fully accounts for the
constraints that have been proposed on TE tense. Further, I show that this speakeraddressee-oriented property leads to the conclusion that TE tense is a deictic tense. while
other situation-oriented tenses, for example the so-called past tense marker -rss-,are
Using the notions of deictic and anaphoric tense discussed in the previous chapters,
Chapter 3 considers the relationship between the semantics and the syntax of tense, that is,
how deictic tense and anaphoric tense are represented in syntactic structure. In this thesis, I
follow the predicative approach to tense (Zagona 1990,1995, and Stowell 1995, 1996), in
order to give a structural representation of deictic and anaphoric tense. Under the predicative
theory of tense. tense is analogous to a predicate that takes two arguments, a subject and an
object. Tense parallels a predicate in that it has a subject-like external argument denoting the
speech time or a reference time and an object-like internal argument denoting a reference time
or a situation time. I argue that a f ~ t clause
can have two tense projections, a deictic and an
anaphoric tense projdon. In the syntactic structure, anaphoric tenses have an external
argument linked to the internal argument of a deictic tense or a higher tense. Perfect tense is
an anaphoric tense that always requires a deictic tense. This two-tiered analysis of anaphoric
tense not only allows for an account of some complex tense phenomena in Korean but also
allows for an analysis of the Rule of Sequence of Tenses in English. I show that the Rule of
Sequence of Tenses is a syntactic rule that establishes an anaphoric link within a finite
clause, and that, in this respect. anaphoric tense parallels a nominal anaphor in English.
Finally, I give a revised inventory of possible tenses.
In Chapter 4, 1 give a summary and conclusions of this study. Further. 1 address
some implications of the analysis in this thesis and some residual questions.
In this chapter, I consider the definitions of tense and aspect and the need for a
distinction between deictic tense and anaphoric tense in connection with the concept of
reference point (Reichenbach 1947). Further, I address the definition of three temporal
primitives: speech time, situation time, and reference point. I provide a tense typology based
on the concepts of deictic tense and anaphoric tense and the redefmed primitives. First, I
discuss the need for the grammaticalization of tense (8 1.1) and deictic properties of tense and
aspect (8 1.2). 8 1.3 addresses the need for the recognition of a type of tense other than deictic
tense, which I call anaphoric tense, and its characteristics. I suggest that languages make use
of these two types of tenses.
Having established the difference between the two types of tense-deictic tense and
anaphoric tense, I next turn to the concept of reference point and its use as a perspective for
the analysis of anaphoric tense. S 1.4 discusses the redundancy of Reichenbach's reference
point and event time in simple tenses and the dual function of the reference point, and
redefines the notions of reference point and situation time. 1 argue that a tense requires only
two time parameters and that only complex tenses such as pluperfect, which I call deictic
plus anaphoric tense, can have three time parameters. The concept of reference point has
been controversial since Reichenbach (1947) introduced it in the representation of temporal
compositions along with speech time and situation time. I illustrate the function of the
reference point. the secondary deictic center for anaphoric tense. Also I give a tentative
inventory of possible tenses in language under the notion of deictic and anaphoric tense
(0 1.3.
Every human being exists in time. One is born as a baby, grows up as an adult, gets
older, and tinally dies. Every situation or event has temporal properties. even though some
situations have no bounds. In the same way, as Comrie (1985:H) points out, all human
languages have ways of locating events in time,even though they may differ from one
Cross-linguistically. the concept of time is represented by three main classes of
expressions: 1) grammatical expressions. 2)lexical expressions, and 3) lexically composite
expressions. Lexicalization and grammaticalization are the major ways to express time.
Lexicalization includes time adverbials, which have more specific time references and allow
for an infinite number of expressions. Grammaticalization encompasses much broader
notions such as anteriority, simultaneity, or posteriority usually with respect to the present
moment as deictic center. The grammaticalized elements are what generally is called tense in
descriptions of languages.
Bybee et al. (1994:4) say that grammatical morphemes develop gradually out of
lexical morphemes or combinations of lexical morphemes with grammatical morphemes. The
originally concrete and specific meanings associated with lexical material become gradually
abstract and general, and phonological reduction and dependence on surrounding material
eventually lead to affwation.
Diachronically, time adverbials are more fundamental than tense and usually have
their origin in place adverbials, which are concrete and explicit expressions of deictic
systems. As opposed to the concept of place, which has a varying deictic center depending
on a speaker, time has the same deictic center shared at the same time by all human beings.
This may be a major reason why time has been grammaticalized as tense.
Cross-linguistically most languages have both tenses and time adverbials, although
languages like Chinese have only time adverbials to express the notion of time, and Mam
shows complementary distribution between time adverbials and tense (Comrie 1985:3 1). In
languages that have both time adverbials and tense, these are not always used redundantly.
When we do not have to specify the particular time of a situation, we simply indicate whether
the situation has happened or not by using tense, in other words. by means of bound
morphemes or auxiliaries. On the other hand, when we want to give more restrictive,
accurate, and subtle time reference, depending on the speaker's intention, we make use of
time adverbials, which are extremely rich and various, and infinitely composite.
Tense and Aspect as a Deictic System
Time is an abstract experience that we have only by being conscious of the present
moment This experience consists of a set of our present moments, which makes o ceaseless
flow of time. We can say that some event happened (a past event) because we are conscious
of the present moment when we are speaking, and see the temporal relation from the
standpoint of the present moment. Thus, tense, which is conceptualized in language, has to
be deictic.
According to Nunberg (1993), the meaning of indexical expressions consists of three
components: the deictic component, the relational component., and the classificatory
component.' Thus, the meaning of yesterday is 'the calendar day' (classificatory component)
that 'precedes' (relational component) 'the time of speaking' (deictic component). Thus,
yesterday differs from tomorrow in terms of its relational component, and from last year
(yesteryear) in terms of its classificatory component (Nunberg 1993:9).
This means that the deictic center is an indispensable element of the interpretation of
tense and hence tense is a relational category. It is difficult to capture this relational aspect
within the referential theory of tense. In this respect, I will accept the claim that tense is a
predicate-like category. In the predicative theory of tense, a tense relates two time points, and
it has an external argument referring to the speech point or a reference point, and an internal
argument referring to another time, such as situation time (Zagona 1990, Stowell 1996).'
Both tense and aspect are, as Comrie (19855) says, closely f0~ecte.dwith time, but
Accading to Nunberg (1993:B-9).h e deictic component is a function b m occurences or
utterances of an expression to elements of the context of utterance, rud the m e deictic component would be
assigned to the forms now, nowaduys, ago. and so forth. And the relationill component of the indexical
constrains the conespondencethat has to hold between the index and the interptetation. 'Ihe classif~catory
component includes features like number and a n h y and featus like grammatical and naaual gender, and
this component is associated with its interpretation, nther than with its index.
This will be addRssed in Chapw 3.
the difference between them is that tense refers to situation-externaltime, while aspect refers
to situation-internal time. This means that aspect represents the internal temporal construction
of a situation, independent of temporal relations. Against a general notion that aspect, in
contrast to tense, is not a deictic category, Klein (1994:28) argues that the idea of various
possible 'viewpoints' is the very heart of the concept of aspect, and that aspect is not
different in terms of a deictic-relational property.
As a matter of fact. aspect has a deictic function, but tense and aspect are different in
that aspect is not deixis requiring a Axed deictic center in the flow of time, but deixis in
which there are various perspective points from which one situation is viewed. In other
words, while tense needs one fixed perspective point from which we capture relations such
as anteriority, simultaneity, and posteriority, aspect needs one fixed situation with varying
viewpoints. excluding time relations.
However, according to Klein ( 1994), while tense provides ways to relate topic time
(ITjwhich is the time a claim is made for-and utterance time (TU),' aspect provides ways
to relate topic time (TI") and the time of a situation (TSit). Hence tense has deictic time
relations, but aspect has anaphoric time relations that comprise miscellaneous relations such
as A R E R , BEFORE,AT. and INCL, which denotes respectively perfect, prospective,
perfective, and imperfective (Klein 1994:1OS)? Here INCL stands for an inclusive or
overlapping relation.
Klein (1994) analyzes tense as follows:
' Kkin(1994) uses imperfective and perfective to ~ f e tor progressive aspect and past kme
Thus, Klein claims that tense and aspect are alike in that they involve temporal relations
between time points. They differ, however, in that tense is a relation between TT and TU,
while aspect is a relation between TT and Tsit. This means that tense and aspect are not
different kinds of categories. Klein (1 994) also regards perfect and progressive as belonging
to the same grammatical category, that is, aspect.
As far as their basic definitions are concerned. tense and aspect are different,
although it is possible that one form may have two functions. As Comrie (1985) says, the
prototypical meaning of a form should be distinguished from the secondary meaning. The
confusion of a form's meanings, we assume. arises from terminological problems associated
with characteristics of Indo-European languages. Bybee et al. ( 199454) give precise
definitions of their terms, based on their cross-linguistic samples.
Anterior (or perfect): signals that the situation occurs prior to reference time and is
relevant to the situation at the reference time. (Anterior may
occur with past or future tense marking)
signals that a state exists as a result of a past action. i.e. the
state persists at the reference time.
signals that the situation is viewed as bounded kmpordy.
indicates a situation which occurred before the moment of
speech. (A simple past resembles a perfective in that it is the
tense of narration of sequences of past event)
One thing we can be sure of is that the perfect is not perfective. The perfect, after all,is
compatible with the progressive form in English (e.g. She hus been studying Frmch). One
important factor that distinguishes perfect from pure aspect is the fact that many scholars call
perfat 'anterior' which means 'preceding'--a time relation. What we can tell fiom the
perfect is anteriority to some point, whether or not it is the present moment, so that perfect is
a kind of tense to be figured out with what is called complex tense, relative tense, or
anaphoric tense.
To summarize, tense is time deixis requiring one fixed deictic center, that is, one
fixed perspective point, from which we capture a relation such as anteriority, posteriority, or
simultaneity. On the other hand, aspect has a varying perspective point, from which one
situation is viewed independently of time relations. Usually aspect has a close relation to
lexical properties of the verbs, aktionrart. but tense does not.
Deictic Tense and Anaphoric Tense
Many languages have borderline categories that lie between two different categories
and are sometimes classified as one, and sometimes as the other. Perfect is said to be such a
category, but the problem is not with perfect itself but with the definition of tense. In the
same way, Korean TE tense, which is called 'retrospective tense', is closely related to mood
but has clear time relations, Thus, it is sometimes classified as a mood, sometimes as tense.
The narrow definition that we have had so far cannot encompass all these kinds of tense.
It is possible that the more complex tense is, the more additional properties of aspect
or mood other than tense it has, because time conceptualized in language usually does not
have the metrical and mathematical properties of time in reality. The perfect has
characteristics of aspect, but basically it functions as tense. In Korean. TE tense has some
properties of mood because it always implies the presence of the speaker and the addressee
or the speaker's viewpoint However, one thing common in complex tenses is the existence
of another time point in addition to the present moment and the time of the situation.
Funher, what we can assume is that three relations with respect to one deictic center,
i.e. the speech time, are not enough for tense systems. As tenses get more complex, what is
needed is secondary deictic centers (presumably, at most two secondary deictic centen),
each of which can bring the maximum of three relations (Reichenbach 1947). In other
words, the starting point is a purely deictic relation and, on the basis of the deictic relation,
anaphoric relations are secondarily established5 Here lies the crucial reason for introducing
Here deiccic and anaphoric tense are interchangeable with Comrie's (1985) absolute and dative
tense. However, there are some mismatches. According to Comrie, the English pesent perfect is an aspect.
not a tense, and pluperfect is an absolute-relative tense, s opposed to a ~ u r relative
tense. On the other hand,
another time point in addition to the speech time and the situation time.
This anaphoric property-the
relativity of tense-can also be found in time
adverbials. Generally time adverbials come in two types, deictic and anaphoric time
adverbials. Harkness (1987:83) gives a more specific division of time adverbials, depending
on their anchoring points.
a. ST-anchored TA:
b. Non-ST-anchored TA:
c. T-anchored TA:
Time adverbial that must anchor to the present moment
e.g. now, yesterduy, tomorrow. some time ago, etc.
Time adverbial that cannot anchor to the present
moment but requires another anchor.
e.g. some time before, the day before, etc.
Time adverbial that simply requires an anchor whether
this is the present moment or another time
e.g. later, soon. etc.
Yesrerdoy has its anchoring point at the present moment-a
deictic time adverb, but the
anchoring time of the day bejioore is not the present moment but some other point-an
anaphoric time adverb.
Since time adverbs play an important role in temporal reference. I assume that the
classification of time adverbs also suggests some important properties of tense systems.
Fist, tense can have an anchoring time (reference point) other than the present moment.
Hence, two kinds of tenses are possible: deictic or absolute tense and anaphoric or relative
tense. Second. there can be a third type of tense, which can have deictic relations or
anaphoric relations depending on its anchoring point.6
In fact, Comrie (198563) gives an example of this third type of tense in Classical
Arabic, where the tense of the main verb can have different anchoring points depending on
context. Classical Arabic has what are conventionally called impedect and perfect. While the
Declerk (1995) considers pluperfect to be a pure relative tense. This thesis considers perfect to be an anaphoric
tense and plupert'ect to be not a single tense but a composition of two tenses, a deictic tense plus an
anaphoric tense.
In fact. this type of tense cy, be a kind of @ric
tense without a fued reference point. Thus, its
ancharing point varies depending on time adverbi;rls. the event time of the higher clause, or sometimes
discourse context.
perfect has a relative past time reference, the imperfect has a relative non-past time reference.
They do not necessarily have the speech time as their deictic center, even though the speech
time can be taken to be the reference point when no reference point is given by the context.'
In the same way, the Korean tense marker -as-,whether in main clauses or in
embedded clauses, has different anchoring points depending on whether or not -re- is
present. On the other hand. the Korean TE tense has the speech time as its anchoring point (a
deictic tense). The English perfect tense also can have different anchoring points, depending
on which deictic tense it appears with.while the other simple tenses are deictic in terns of
basic meaning. In Swahili, while only one tense, the LI tense. is a deictic past, the other
tenses have variable reference points (or speech times), according to Contini-Morava
(1983:4). These tenses express sequential relationships between an event and some time
point that is variable: the NA tense represents relative present, the TA tense relative future.
the HU tense relative habitual, and KU tense relative past negative.
Therefore, I assume that languages have deictic tense and anaphoric tense
mechanisms cross-linguistically. I will examine deictic and anaphoric tense in connection
with the third time point in the following section.
The Third Time Point
In this section, I will point out the dual nature of the concept of reference point. After
introducing deictic tense and anaphoric tense. I will propose that the reference point, in fact,
just has the function of another deictic center, whether shifted or not. In 8 1.4.1 to 81.4.4, I
give a survey of the defmitions of the primitives of tense, temporal points. In 5 1.4.5, I
' Classic Anbic in Koran has imperfective simultaneous tense of participial constructions, which is
used interchangeably with finite clauses. This does not requite any contextual marker when it is simultancmus
with the present moment. On the other hand, when its reference point is in the past or future, it requires some
overt marlring: 1) an auxiliary such as kana 'was*, 2) the indication of the point of reference by the main
clause when the participial structureoccurs as a subordim clause, 3) time ndvetbids, 4) time-adverbial
clauses in initial position. 5) conditional clwses, 6) another ckuse coordinated with the panicipial clause.
But there is one consttaint on that: in initial position in the main clause, coUocation of non-present time
adverbids with imperfective pankipid structure is ungriunmatical (Kinberg l992:308-311).
propose an analysis of the function of the reference point and give a tentative inventory of
possible tenses in languages.
1.4.1 Reichenbach (1947)
The most influential work on formal approaches to tense is Reichenbach (1947). He
posits that there are three points involved in the description of tense: the speech time (S), an
event time (E), and a reference time (R).8 According to Reichenbach (1947:288), in past
perfect tense (e.g. Peter had gone). there are two temporal poinu: the point of event and the
point of reference. These positions are determined with respect to the point of speech, and
the point of reference is a time between the time when Peter went and the point of speech.
Thus, Reichenbach (1947) claims that the difference among the following three
sentences is the point of reference.'
1 have seen John.
1 saw John.
I had seen john.
E , R S
The difference between examples (4) and (5) is that the reference point of (5) is located in the
past time,simultaneous with the point of event, whereas that of (4) is at the point of speech,
the present moment. The temporal composition of (4) accounts for the present relevance of
the perfect tense. Llewise, the difference between (5) and (6) is the location of the reference
point. The reference point of (6) is located between S and E, which indicates that the event,
'my seeing John', occurs prior to the time of the reference point. Thus he claims that the
three time points are relevant to every temporal expression and that temporal adverbials
modify only the reference point.
But the crucial issue here is the position of the point of reference in the simple tense,
Win (199424-5) says that the idea of a third time parameter did not originate with Reichenbach.
Here. S, E. and R are ihc point of speech. Ihe point of went (situpion). and the point of reference
respectively. In &lition,I use the terms, 'point', 'time', or 'interval*,interchangeably.
not in perfect tense. Reichenbach (L947:288)admits that, in an individual sentence, it is not
clear which time point is used as the point of reference. He says that this determination is
given rather by the context of speech, and that, in the simple tense. the point of event and the
point of reference are simultaneous. This unclear use of the concept of reference point has
caused a lot of confusion in theories of tense that have been developed following
Reichenbach. Thus, one important clarification is needed before we turn to the analysis of
tense phenomena. This is: what is the point of reference, i.e. the exact definition of the
reference point?
When he systematizes the possible tenses. Reichenbach (1947:296) says, "We
choose the point of speech as the starting point; relative to it the point of reference can be in
the past, at the same time, or in the future." What is this reference point then' If we are true
to the logic of his theory, the reference point of the simple tense can be the same time as the
time of an event like a simple time reference. On the other hand, if we follow the logic of his
perfect tense, it can be a secondary starting point Wre the point of speech. The question here
is whether we need the reference point in addition to the time of event in simple tenses. I
assume that the reference point in simple tenses is redundant and unnecessary. I will propose
that the reference point is required only for anaphoric tenses.
1.4.2 Schopf (1989)
According to Schopf s ( 1989:186) interpretation of Reichenbach's terminology,
speech time is the primary orientation axis (which can be distinguished from secondary
speech time in direct and indirect speech). Reference time is the time in relation to which
event time is located on the time axis. Event time is the time at which a proposition is
realized. In addition, a fourth paramter may be needed for the adverbially specified time.
which may or may not be identical with the event time or reference time.
Schopf (1 989:186) says that the past tense introduces the whole span of time anterior
to speech time as a reference frame from which the sentence-in-context chooses a specific
subinterval as reference time. He describes the function of the past tense as a search
instruction to "look out for a co-textually or contextually given specific tim in the past, i.e.
anterior to and not including speech time (in some cases reference time) and relate the
untensed or temporally unspecified proposition to it as simultaneous."
However, Schopf s explanation of past tense raises several questions. First, in the
sentence John lost his watch, for example, what is the time of John's losing his watchreference time or event time? Second. if the reference time is given LO-textuallyor
contextually, is it a purely pragmatic concept without any grammatical basis'! Later Schopf
(1989: 187) says that it can be supplied sentence-internally in the form of a time adverbial.
Then, is the reference time just a time for the specifcation of the time adverbial'?
Third, Schopf says that the past tense relates an untensed or temporally unspecified
proposition to reference time, and represents the relationship of inclusion or overlapping
between reference time and event time. Then what is the event time that Schopf refers to, the
proposition itself (the event notion) or the time at which some event happens'? Does an event
time that is meaningful to time representation exist in fact in Schopf s analysis?
As for the necessity of Reichenbach's reference point in the simple tenses, Schopf
(1989: 190) argues that it is impossible to temporalize a state without reference time. That is
because, in the case of states, the event time is not defined, since it is usually boundless. To
relate a state to the time line requires a time point interior to the event. The second argument
is that the reference tirne is needed for the analysis of the difference between present perfect
and past. A funher argument is that the reference point is required for relative tense.
As for the f i t argument, event time is of no use since the event time of states is
usually boundless and cannot be defined, and, in most other cases (e.g. non-states in simple
tenses), event time is simultaneous with reference time. For the distinction between present
perfect and past, as Comrie (1981) points out, present perfect refen not only to the present
moment, but also to the time period begi~ingat the past time and stretching up to the
present moment. This reference time is, according to Reichenbach (1947) and Schopf
(1989), the time specified by time advabials. Consider the following examples.
I have known him since 1988.
I have recently met an interesting poet.
1 have never been there before.
These sentences show that the present perfect does not refer only to the present moment
since time adverbids can refer not only to present time, but also to past time. This means that
the difference between present perfect and pasi cannot be explained sirnpiy by the different
position of reference time, that is, that present perfect has the reference time at the present
moment but past at the past time. as Reichenbach (1947) claims.
Thus, to solve this redundancy between event time and reference time in the simple
tenses, we propose that only two time parameters, speech time and reference time, are
required. Schopf s event time is needed only for the consideration of aspect, not of tense.
However, as Schopf (1989: 190) also points out, Reichenbach's reference time is needed for
the secondary or relative tenses. This means that reference time is required for anaphoric
tense to have a shifted deictic point.
The two concepts of reference point-the
time that tense refers to and the time to
which another time relates-are different and must be separated from each other. Even
though, in fact, one form can have these two functions when it is used in relation to other
tenses, this double function is not possible when it is used for just one temporal relation.
1.4.3 Smith (1991), Hornstein (1990), and McGilvray (1991)
Smith (199 1:140) notes that the point of reference has a dual function. In simple
sentences, the point of reference is the temporal standpoint such as past, present, or future,
and, in complex sentences, it is the secondary orientation point Smith (1991:142) compares
simple past with perfect the difference is one of perspective, that is, the perfect sentence
considers the event from the standpoint of the present, while simple past takes the standpoint
of the past.
The dual function of the reference point makes it difficult if not impossible to explain
both functions with a consistent set of terms. The standpoint of past time is nothing but the
time reference to past. It is not the standpoint from which the event is viewed. Besides, past
tense has the present moment as a standpoint from which the event is viewed. This means
that past tense is relative to the standpoint of the present moment. Thus, as previously
mentioned, the two concepts-temporal
standpoints (here, simple time references) and a
secondary orientation point (reference pointbare totally different and must be separated. If
the simple past has a past reference point, it will not be needed for the past tense itself. but
for representing its relation to mother time point
Homstein (1990) has revised Reichenbach's claim on the linking of the temporal
adverbial. He suggests that the temporal adverbial is mapped not only onto reference time but
also onto event time. However, Hornstein keeps Reichenbach's full temporal composition of
the three points, even when reference time is superfluous. The point of reference is not
merely introduced for the interpretation of complex tenses. but rather it is one term in a
syntactic relation that obtains even when not semantically visible. Thus. with the introduction
of the reference point, the primary tense relationship is between S and R. E is located
through its relationship to R, and this forms a secondary tense relationship (Homstein
Like Reichenbach, Homstein does not give a defmite explanation of the reference
point, and applies a somewhat confusing notion of this concept to his tense theory. He
further assumes that tense is a linearly ordered complex made up of three points, S, R, and
E, and this linear ordering of the primitive tense features is a syntactic characteristic of tenses
in natural languages. Therefore. even though R and E are interpreted as contemporaneous
within Reichenbach's theory, the different linear orders (e.g. E,R and R,E) do not have the
same meaning.
Sentences with multiple adverbs, according to Homstein (1990), provide evidence
that all tenses have a reference point. Re-sententid adverbs are associated with a reference
point while post-verbal advabials are mapped onto event time preferentially. So when both
types of adverbs appear in the same sentence, he represents thei temporal orderings as
a. Yesterday, John left for Paris a week ago.''
a week ago
a. *A week ago, John left for Paris yesterday.
a week ago yesterday
Hornstein (1990:26) says that the reason sentence (1 I ) is unacceptable is that it violates the
ordering of the basic structure of past tense (which is E,R-S).
his linearity condition, E,R-S
and R,E-S
In other words. according to
are different in tense structure, although the
difference between those two compositions is not clear.
In fact. the time composition of the derived tense in (10) is exactly the same as that of
past perfect (E-R-S), according to Hornstein's inventory of tenses. Does the sentence in
(10) have the same temporal interpretation as the past perfect tense? Besides. if the reference
time is yesterday and the event time a week ago in (lo), the sentence in (1 2), according to
his analysis, should be represented as follows:
a. (Today) John left for Paris a week ago.
a week ago
R, S
This means that, in this past tense sentence (1 2). the reference point and the speech point are
simultaneous, which is totally diffmnt from his basic time representation of simple past
Several w i v e speakers hat I have consulled said lhpla week ago yesterday is m a e acceptable.
tense, in which R must be prior to S.
Most of all, a week ago and yesterday are not separate adverbs but one adverbial
phrase that acts together. Within the time adverbid phrase, yesterday can be the reference
point of o week ago because a week ago has to be viewed (or counted) with respect to
yesterday, not today or the present moment. However, this has nothing to do with the
reference point of the whole event of the clause.
Following Reichenbach, McGilvray ( 1991) says that tense is a relationship between
s S and R
the time of speech (is) and reference point (iR), and the three possible o r d e ~ g of
are called past, present, and future, where S stands after, at, and before the same time as R
respectively. Also the RE (descriptum) relationship has three possible orderings, called
anterior, simple, and posterior. He suggests that each sentence has a single SR relationship
and a single RE relationship, and that even simple-tensed sentences like Mary left refer to all
three time points, the speech time, situation time, and reference point.
In addition, McGilvray (199 1:20) suggests that Reichenbach's S, R, and E should be
identified with more than temporal intervals, and should be huther elaborated with
supplementary elements, as in ( 13):
p is a speaker or 'storyteller'
t is a token or utterance
w is a 'perceiver-describer'
c is a class of things or individuals
B is a situation
is, iR, and iE are intervals of time
With respect to his definition of R, the reference point, McGilvray makes crucial use of the
concept of ' c ' a spatio-temporally located individual or thing that is referred to,or that the
sentence is about-and
its location at iR. He uses 'c' to support Reichenbach's concept of
reference point in the comparison of tenses. Thus the temporal location of R is determined
depending on where c is located (e.g. in present, past, or future). McGilvray (1991:47) says
that, in perfect (anterior), c is located at iR and 0 (a situation) before iR. However, this
location of c is problematic, as he admits. The following examples cannot have c at the time
interval iR, as opposed to the corresponding progressive perfect sentences.
a. Johnhasleft.
b. John had left yesterday.
c. John will have left by then.
Here c (John) should be located at the speech time in (14a), at some time after the situation
time in (14b), and at the time referred to by the adverb then in (14c). Later, McGilvray
associates this c with the notion of 'civrent relevance'. Thus. his RE relationship represents
a temporal relationship between a referred-to individual or thing and a situation obtained by
picture reference. Although the location of c is problematic in R, the distinction between a
speaker level and a perceiver-describer level is a significant one.
1.4.4 Klein (1994)
Klein (1994:24-25) makes a rather significant argument about tense and points out
the problem with Reichenbach's reference point. He says that, especially in the case of
simple past tense, it is unclear what the point of reference is, and that without a specific
definition, the notion of reference time is a vacuous one. Instead, he introduces the term
"topic time'', giving a similar explanation to Reichenbach's. However, I find that Klein's
topic time is not that different from Reichenbach's reference time.
According to Klein (1994)- as mentioned before, tense does not express a temporal
relation between the he of situation and the time of utterance. Rather, it expresses a relation
between the time of utterance and some time for which the speaker wants to make an
assertion, i.e. topic time. Thus, there are two types of temporal relationships: one is tense,
which is the relationship between topic time and utterance time; the other is aspect, which is
the relationship between topic time and the time of situation. Topic ti-the
time for which
the particular utterance makes an assertion. or the time about which a speaker means to
Linked to the time of utterance on the one hand and to the rime of situation on the
other hand.
Klein (1994: 12 1) distinguishes a relatum.' ' which is a previously established
temporal entity, from the theme, which is then temporally related to the relatum. Hence, he
distinguishes a deictically-given relaturn (utterance time) From an anaphorically-given relatum
(topic time), which serves as an anchoring point for the time of situation.
However, Klein has a problem dealing with anaphoric tense relations. According to
him, anaphoric tense relations are represented by aspect, which expresses the time relations
between topic time and situation time (see the list (I)), and the English perfect tense and the
progressive aspect are the same grammaticalcategory, i.e. aspect? Klein's analysis of
perfect cannot consistently account for other perfect tenses such as the French perfect.
Another point is that Klein is unable to generalize his anaphoric tense relation because we
cannot say that all anaphoric tenses in the world's languages are related to aspect.
According to Klein ( 1994:164), a time adverbial as well as a tense marker provides
topic time (Fin-Specification1'or Modification) or makes the time of situation (InfSpecification)explicit. A sentence-initial time adverbial, which usually represents topic time,
gives Fin-Specification, since it narrows down topic time to a certain time span, and does so
in contrast to some other time. In contrast, a post-verbal time adverbial, which selves as
focus, gives Inf-Specification. Thus a sentence-initial adverbial, which makes topic time
explicit, functions as an anaphoric relaturn, which is a secondly deictic point.
" An example of a relatun is a reference point such as the spcech time.
According to Klein (1994). combination of more than one aspect is possible.
"'Fin' and 'Inf smd fm fmite and infinite. respectively.
a. At three o'clock, he was peacefully sleeping.
b. When it was three o'clock sharp, the plane took off.
c. Three months ago, he didn't have a penny.
Klein (1994:70) says that the time span of the sentence-initial adverbs (15% b, c) functions
as an anaphoric relatum of the subsequent time span-situation
time. Thus, the time of topic
adverbial differs from the time of situation in (15). However, he does not give a clear
explanation of what kind of anaphoric relation holds between the time of the time adverbial
and the time of the situation in these sentences.
In contrast with focus, which is used for description, topic is used to give a
speaker's assertion about the topic material, whether a time, a situation, or an individual.
Perhaps, it is possible that a time gap occurs between the time reference of a topic time
adverb and the time reference of the event described in (15b). In fact, the time gap between
the time of the topic adverb and the time of the situation can be attributed to the characteristics
of topic. Thus, it is difficult to say that this kind of temporal relation gives a consistent
In the simple tensed sentences, as in (15), the time of topic adverbial is a
specification of the situation time as a topic material not as focus, in order to contrast with
some other times.
Therefore, I argue that in simple tenses as in (15) a topic time and a situation time
cannot have an anaphoric time relation, although an anaphoric relation is established in
sentences taking complex tenses such as deictic plus anaphoric tense (for example, past
perfect). This kind of anaphoric relation results from the composition of the two tenses when
" In fact, in K o m , when the subject takes the nominative marker, the present tense usually refers
to an on-going situation n the present moment, as in (i), but when the subject lakes the topic marker instead
of the nominative marker, the present tense refers to future, as in (i).
'John goes/ is going.'
[email protected]
'John will definitely go.'
deictic one of the two potential timedenoting adverbs is realized as a topic. Thus, topic time
itself does not yield an anaphoric relation to situation time.
1.4.5 The Reference Point
As Schopf (1989) and Klein (1994) point out, tense is not the relation between a
deictic point such as the present moment and the time of a real event. Rather it is the relation
between a deictic point and the time to which a speaker refers (reference time) or the time
about which a speaker makes an assertion (topic time). In fact, some situations are not
temporal, which means they are boundless. Even if some have bounds, in most cases we
recognize and talk about some part of the whole time length of situations. We abstract them
into points in the flow of time when we express them in language.
Thus. when we talk about a situation in language, we do not talk about the situation
that exists in real time, or the world. but about our experience, perception, or knowledge of
the real situation. As I mentioned before, we only need two time parameters in simple tense,
the present moment and reference time (or topic time), which is a grammaticalized situation
Before we dispense with the time of situation in simple tenses, we need to review the
definitions of situation time. Every scholar has a strong attachment to the time of situation,
even when they do not give it a significant role. According to Schopf (1989), the time of
event (situation) is the time at which the proposition is realized. If we follow the
Reichenbachian approach, the sentence in (1 Cia) is represented as in ( 16b):
a. The book was written in French.
b. R , E S
However, in reality, the book probably is still in French unless something really unusual
happed. This means the exact event time has to be some time interval stretching up to the
present moment In other words, the event time of (16) should be located at the present
the situation holds at the present moment-even though the reference time is
at the past time, as represented in (17).
Here, the past tense means that the speaker refers to one point in the past when she or he saw
the book, even though the situation still hoids at the present moment. T h i s shows that the
Reichenbachian approach fails to make a thorough analysis of the relation between event time
and reference time, and that the distinction between event time and reference time at least in
simple tenses is groundless, that is. it has no relevance to tense at all.
Klein (1 994: 139) defines three kinds of situation d m : 1) in the case of fact listing,
the time at which the situation really obtained. 2) in the case of fictitious discourse. the time
at which a situation is imagined since there is no real situation, and 3) the time at which a
speaker obtains information about the situation (as in the case of backchecking, e.g. Sorry,
w b t was your nume?). According to Klein's definitions. the time of situation cannot be
defined as only the time at which the situation is realized. The time at which the situation is
imagined or information is obtained by a speaker can be included into the time that a speaker
refers to, or makes an assertion about. This means that his definition of the time of situation
(event) does not give a consistent explanation.
What is significant in tense is not the event time that does exist in reality but does not
give any specific information about the time point or interval of some event, but the time,
whether event time or reference time, which tells us the time relation with respect to an
anchoring point such as the speech time. Conside~gthat grammaticalization is a result of
how man conceptualizes or abstracts the real world, as I mentioned before, the time of
situation (event) is the time that the speaker perceives. believes, or imagines a situation to be
at or the time that the speaker refers to.
Tbus, in order to solve this redundancy betwan reference time and situation time,
we can consider two options, given that simple tenses require two time parameters. One is
that past tense has speech time and reference time. The other is that past tense has spech
time and situation time. The former requires another time point other than reference time,
such as a perspective point, as some scholars suggest, for tenses like perfect. in order to
avoid terminological confusion. The latter can make use of reference point without adding
another term,
Comrie (1985) also says that the point of reference is unnecessary for simple tenses.
while it is needed for complex tenses such as past perfect or future perfect. This is because
present perfect and past do not differ primarily in terms of location in time (both locate a
In fact,
situation in the past). but rather in terms of other aspectual ~haracteristics.'~
considering that Reichenbach (1947) originally conceived of reference point in order to
accommodate the pluperfect, I propose that reference point is not only a new anchoring point
in anaphoric tense, but also can refer to the present moment
Now, instead of providing a new named point such as a perspective point, I suggest
that the reference point simply functions as a secondary deictic point for anaphoric tense.
Keeping the same view that the primary relation of tense is deictic and the secondary relation
is anaphoric, simple deictic tense has the speech time as its deictic center, but anaphoric rense
has a reference point before, after. or simultaneoui with the speech time. The secondary
relations of tense, the anaphoric relations, can make three different time representations such
as relative present (simultaneous),relative past (anterior), and relative fume (posterior).
However, one important fact is that every tense has its final anchoring point in the
present moment, whether directly or indirectly. In other words, every anaphoric tense has
some mechanism in which it is finally linked to the present moment. This mechanism seems
to follow a parametric variation across languages. The starting point is always a deictic
relation, and then, based on that relation, a secondary anaphoric relation is established even
though the order of mapping in a sentence is different from language to language. In
Is This may be an important reason why in other languages. for example G e m , the present
pedect has become a past tense. In other words, past and m n t perfect have the same reference point as the
speech time. This will be addressed further in Chapter 3.
addition, anaphoric tense can have a default anchoring, in which anaphoric tense can anchor
directly on the present moment when it is not given any other a n c h o ~ gpoint by other
means. such as language-specific mechanisms.
First, I have examined the basic definitions of tense and aspect, focusing on their
deictic properties. Tense is time deixis that requires one fvted perspective point, from which
we capture a temporal relation such as anteriority, simultaneity, or posterity. In contrast,
aspect is deixis that has a varying perspective point, from which one situation is viewed
independently of the time relation. Second, I have discussed the need for a different type of
tense, anaphoric tense, by showing the anaphoric properties of time adverbials. I give
examples of tenses different from deictic tense in various languages. Third, I have pointed
out some problems, such as the redundant situation time in simple tenses, and the double
function of reference point in the analyses of Reichenbach, Klein, and others. Every tense
needs two time parameters. I redefined the reference point as a secondary orientation point,
and situation time as the time that the speaker refers to or perceives, believes, or imagines a
situation to be at.
To sutnmarize my discussion of the relationship of reference point to deictic tense
and anaphoric tense, I present the following tentative inventory of the possible tenses in
( 18)
a. Dcictic tenses:
b. Anaphoric tenses:
Here deictic and anaphoric tense refer to the basic meaning of tenses, which means the
denotation when they are used in a simple sentence. Deictic tense means that its reference
point is always at the speech point, whereas anaphoric tense means that its reference point is
variable and may be a time point other than the speech point.
This chapter examines the Korean predicate system and the Korean tense and aspect
markers. The main questions that are addressed in this chapter are:
What are the substance and grammatical status of the Korean verbal inflectional
How many tense and aspect markers does Korean have'!
How do the lexical properties of verbs such as situation types affect tense and
aspect in Korean'?
What is the grammatical status of the so-called retrospective marker -re-'!What
are the constraints on -re-' What is the relationship of -te- to other tense markers?
What is the difference between the so-called past tense marker -ess- and the
duplicated form -ess-ess-'?
Does Korean have future tense'!
I propose that the Korean verbal inflection has two levels, a situation (event)-oriented
level and a speaker-addressee-oriented level. It follows that Korean verbal inflection consists
of situation-oriented suffixes and speaker-addressee-oriented suffbces. Thus. TE tense is a
speaker-addressee-orienteddeictic tense, whereas the other Korean tense markers. such as
@/-nun- or -en- are situation-oriented. In addition, I will show that the speaker-addressee-
oriented tense is deictic tense and the situation-oriented tense is anaphoric tense.
92.1 addresses the grammatical status of Korean verbal inflectional suffixes, the
classification of Korean verbs, and the interaction between the suffixes and the verb types.
02.2 discusses the markers -e iss- and -ko iss-, which I shall call nsultative and progressive
respectively. In 92.3,I discuss the characteristics of the spealter-addressee-orientedtense
and the situationsrientbd tense and the interaction between them including the duplicated
form -ess-ess-. 62.4 gives a summary of Chapter 2.
The Korean Predicate System
Before I analyze Korean tense and aspect markers, I will give a sketch of the
grammar of Korean predicates, suggesting a two-leveled inflectional structure and the
classification of Korean verbs using three parameters: 'agen tive', 'static', and 'telic'.
2.1.1 Situation-Oriented Suffixes and Speaker-Addressee-Oriented Suffixes
Korean is a typical agglutinative language, in which various suffixes representing
grammatical categories, such as honorific. tense, aspect, and mood,suffix to the verb stem
in the form of verbal inflection. S . - 0 . Sohn (1995) proposes the order of the inflectional
category slots given in (20). Parenthesized inflectional categories are optional, while the
others are obligatory.
Conjunctive (-rse.etc.)
Adverbial (-key. -c, etc.)
Adnominal (-n, etc.)
Nominal (-ki, -urn)
Perfect (-ess)
Past (-as,-8)
Non-past (-0)
Volitive (-kryss)
Presumptive (-keyss)
Predictive (-(u)l(i))
indicative (-(n)un/-ni)
Retrospective (-tef-ti)
Requestive (4,-0)
S.-0. Sohn (1995) does not give a consistent and systematic explanation of the tense forms.
saying that the null form (presumably present tense) has two meanings. past and non-past,
and -ess- is also sometimes a past tense, but sometimes a perfect marker. She does not admit
the temporality of the morpheme -te-, and considers it to be a mood.
Nam (1996) proposes the following structure for verbal inflection:
} + (Unconfirmed) + (Retrospective)+ Mood
+ {
( Progressive
Unconflrrned ->
Retrospective ->
are aspect markers.
Denying the existence of tense markers, Nam claims that -as- and -0while -keyss-. -tr-, and sentence final endings are markers of mood.
Influenced by Chomsky's Transformational Grammar analysis of Auxiliaries, Suh
(1 9%) proposes a category of 'Predicate Auxiliary', which includes verbal inflections for
tense, aspect, and mood. According to Suh (19%). while -ess- and -0are tense markers
that have aspectual function, -keyss- and -re- are non-final modal markers, and sentential
endings such as -fa, -&&a,-cis-kwuna,-(ella,and -ca are markers of mood. He says that
Korean has two kinds of modal expressions, sentence final mood and non-final modality.
However. Gim (1980). D.-J. Choi (1994) and Han (1996) share the view that -te- is
a tense marker and -kryss- is a modal marker of presumption. D.-J. Choi (1994) proposes
the following structure for the verbal inflection:
+ {
) + -&~Yss+{
Han (19%) also suggests a similar structure for Korean verbal inflection.
Traditionally, mood, like tense and aspect. has been treated f o d y as a morphosyntactic category of the verb, but modality may be expressed by modal verbs or by particles
separate from the verb. According to Palmer (1986). the distinction between mood and
modality exactly parallels the distinction hetween tense and time, number and enumeration,
or gender and sex-the
one being grdmmaticd, the other notional or semantic. The modal
system is formally associated, along with tense, aspect, and voice. with the verbal system of
the language, even though modality does not relate semantically to the verb alone, but to the
whole sentence. Thus Palmer (1986) says that modality is marked in various ways (by
modal verbs, by mood, and by particles or clitics) and languages may use one or many of
Bybee et al. (1 994) define four types of modality: agent-oriented, speaker-oriented.
epistemic, and subordinating. The semantic notions of agent-oriented modality are
obligation, necessity, ability, and desire, and the commonly expressed epistemic modalities
are possibility, probability, and inferred certainty. The common forms of speaker-oriented
modality are imperative, optative, prohibitive, admonitive, and permissive. Subordinating
moods are used to mark the verbs in certain types of subordinate clauses, such as
complement clauses, concessives, and purpose clauses. One of the most common forms of
subordinating mood is subjunctive.
Strictly speaking, Korean does not have verbal inflection to mark modality, but
rather verbal particles in sentence-rial position. Otherwise. modality such as obligation,
probability, and possibility is represented lexically, or in the form of higher verbs usually
taking embedded clauses. As for these sentence endings, there have been no unified or
consistent grammatical terms among scholars, as seen before. This is because the sentencefinal particles cannot be defined properly with the grammatical concepts developed so far.
In sentence-final position, Korean has basically four different particles in plain
(neutral) style:
-nyalni :
for statements
for questions
for commands
for proposals
Like imperative, these are all markers of speaker-oriented modality. They are associated with
the speech acts that the speaker is directing toward the addressee. Thus, I conclude that these
forms are moods: declarative, interrogative, imperative, and propositive respectively.
As for the ordering of inflectional morphemes, Bybee (1985:196)posits that there are
regularities in morpheme order with respect to the verb stem, based on data found in a fiftylanguage sample. Aspect occurs closest to the verb stem, followed by tense, and then by
mood. This is true of Korean. Aspect relates more closely to the characteristics of the verb
situation type that the verb represents, while mood is more related to the speaker's
attitude and is farther from the situation of the verb. In this sense, as Palmer (1985) says,
modality is concerned with subjective characteristics of an utterance, and subjectivity is an
essential criterion for modality.
I suggest that the closer to the verb stem the marker is, the more situation (event).
oriented it is, while the farther from the verb stem it is, the more speaker-oriented it is.
Further, I propose that the Korean predicate system consists of two levels: a situation (or
In fact, t h m are more mood markers than this in intarnal styles.
event)-oriented level and a speaker-addressee-orienced level. The former includes the
aspectual markers such as -ko iss- and -e iss-, the subject (agent)-honorific suffix -(u)si-,
and the situation-oriented tense markers such as -as-. The latter includes the speakeraddressee-oriented honorific marker -(su)p-,the speaker-addresseeoriented tense marker
-re-, and the speaker-oriented mood markers.
Therefore, Korean verbal inflection has the following structure; the numbering
indicates the order of the possible suffixes adjoining a verb stem:
Table I : Korean Verbal Inflection
situation-oriented suffixes
1) -r iss-, -ko iss-
2) -(u)si3) -as-. -as-ess4) -keyss- (epistemic)
5) -(su)p6) -te7) -(ni)ta, -(nu)nyu (-nikka).
-(& (-sio), -ca (-situ)
The controversial suffixes -&eyss-and -(nu)n- will be dealt with more specifically in 8 2.3. It
will be argued that -keyss- lies on the borderline between these two levels. With future time
reference, it is a situation-oriented and at the same time an epistemic modality, since it
usually indicates the speaker's intention or inference.
Korean Verb Classification
Inthis section, I will examine the aspect of the classification of Korean verbs. In
order comctly to identlfy a suffix as tense or aspect, it is necessary to characterize Korean
verbs, since lexical properties of the verbs, aktionsan, can affat the basic meaning of the
categories. This phenomenon seems to play a part in the previous definitions of the Korean
tense and aspect markers. This is because most approaches so far have Pied to define a
category, ignoring these lexical properties of event (or situation) types.
Dik's (1994)and Smith's (19YI)Classifications
Dk(1994) uses several parameters to make a typology of 'States of Affairs' (SoAs).
The most important of his parameters are given in (25).
[* momentaneous]:
whether or not the SoA involves any changes
whether or not the SoA has a natural end point
whether or not the SoA takes place instantaneously
whether or not the SoA can be initiated/ended by one of the
These parameters define the subclassification of SoA types as in Table 2.
Table 2: Dik's (1994) Typology of States of Affairs
SoA Type
This classification docs not fit Korean exactly. However, the pardmeters are useful in the
classification of Korean verbs if we reanalyze the [control] feature to be a feature describing
whether the subject is an agent or not.
Similarly, Smith (199 1:30)suggests a feature 'durative' instead of 'control', and
adds another situation type, emel elf active'.^^
Table 3: Smith's (1991) Typology of Situations
The feature [durative] (or [punctual]) is also an important parameter for the classification of
the Korean verb. However. the features, [static] and [telic]. and Dik's (1994) [control]
feature are more satisfactory for use here. Thus, these three features will be made use of to
classify Korean predicates. This will be addressed in the following section.
Suh's (19%) Korean Verb Classification
S uh ( 19%) classifies Korean predicates as follows:
" Here sernelthctives iue instantaneous a l i c events (e.g. knock cough) and a~hievements
instantaneous changes of states, with an outcome of a new state (e.g. wit1 a race).
pwulkta 'be red', nophtu 'be high'.
cohtu 'be good'
sulputa 'be sad', tepta 'be hot',
cohta 'be good (like)'
alta 'know', mitta 'believe',
nukkita 'feel ',kiekhata 'remember'
chata 'kick'
ilkta 'read'
cwukra 'die', tachira 'get injured'
-calata 'grow'
Suh's classification is relatively true to the semantics of predicates. However, his
classification does not fully account for the relationship between characteristic Korean verbs
and the verbal inflection system, especially tense and aspect. He treats some verbs of mental
state as static, although these verbs pattern like actions in Korean in terms of their
combination with tense and aspect
Verbs expressing mental status, such as alta 'know', ihayhata 'understand', nukkita
'feel', kkaytatta 'realize', mitta 'believe', suyngkukhata 'think'. salunghata 'love', kiekhatu
'remember', and ictu 'forget'. can occur with the progressive form -ko iss- without any
'I love him'
salmgha-ko iss-ta.
These verbs can be regarded as verbs of mental activity rather than states, since one
distributional restriction of -ko iss- is that it is incompatible with static verbs, which are
adjectival predicates in Korean. Thus, as long as a verb allows the existence of an agent who
can control the situation, the verb is an action verb. I will use three parameters, static,
agentive, and telic, to classify the Korean verbs.
Three Parameters: 'Static', 'Agenthe' and 'Telic'
In the Korean predicate system, there are two categories, verbal and adjectival.
Usually the former occurs with a sentential ending. -nun-ta, which is called present
imperfective, while the latter does not. Verbal predicates correspond to English verbs and
adjectival predicates to English adjectives. Thus, the predicates are divided roughly into two
types: adjectival predicates, which denote states, and verbal predicates, which denote nonstates,
An interesting point is that Korean adjectival predicates play the role of verbs
independently, without the help of the copula itu. Thus, on the one hand, they have to be
treated as verbs, but, on the other hand. they have to be distinguished from verbs in that they
have different conjugations, especially in tense and aspect.
Verbs of State
State verbs include the copula ita and issta ,most pure adjectival predicates, and
some predicates derived from nouns, which usually have the form of noun plus haro 'do'
(e.g., hayngpok-hnra 'be happy', cengcik-hutu 'be honest, chincel-huta 'be kind'). These
derived predicates have one thing in common with verbs. As Y . 4 . Kim (1990:67) points
out, they both have an agent as subject and they both take imperative and proposative
endings, as in (27), unlike the pure adjectival predicates in (28).'
a. (Ne)
a Little
'(You)please be kind! '
For imperative a pmposativc sentences. the derived -e hata f m is used.
a little
'Let's be kind! '
b. (Wuli)
a. *(Ne)
be happy-IMP
'(You) please be happy! '
b. *(Wuli)
a Little
'Let's be happy! '
be happy-PROP
The adjectival verb can be divided into two subtypes of adjectives using the feature
[agentive]. This feature has a close connection with accusative case as in (29).
phyengsayng-dongan-*i /-ul
whole life-during-*NOM/ACC
'I was honest in my whole life.'
be honest-ESS-DEC
whole life-during-'hO~*
'I was happy in my whole life.'
be happy-ESS-DEC
The example (30), with the non-agentive verb kipputa 'be happy', cannot have accusative
case, but (29), with the agentive verb cvngciWtata 'be honest' can have accusative case.
Since, in Korean, even duration or frequency adverbs can have grammatical case, and
whether it is nominative or accusative is decided by the verb, agentivity seems to be related
to the assignment of accusative casd9 I will not address this topic further. since it is outside
the scope of my study.
The usual method by which states are distinguished from non-states is compatibility
l9 Maling (1989:300) says that, while being an accusative Case assigner is very strongly correlated
with being non-static in Kaean. the correlation is not absolute. According to G d t s (1991:260), duration a
Geqwncy idverbs iue markedaccusative if the verb of the chuse is unergative or transitive.
with the markers, -run- or -ko iss-, as mentioned before. State verbs take these markers, but
non-states do not. Another interesting way to distinguish states from non-states is the
meaning difference of the auxiliary verb -e cita when it co-occurs with verbs.
a. Pay-ka
'I become hungry1 am getting hungry.
kop-e ci-nun-ta.
b. Ku
sip nyen-maney
ten year-in
'The house was built in ten years.'
cis-e ci-ess-ta.
When -e cita occurs with state verbs. it functions as on inchoative, which denotes a change
from a previous state to another state. Further. it turns states into nun-states. which means
the derived verbs are compatible with the imperfect or the progressive marker. On the other
hand, for non-states. -e cita is compatible only with verbs that require agents, and roughly
corresponds to a passive constru~tion.'~
Another interesting difference in verb classification is that two opposite verbs in the
same semantic valency, celmta 'young' and nulkta 'old (for animates)' belong to different
verb classes in Korean. While the verb celmta is a state, nulkta is a non-state. Observe their
difference in behavior with respect to aspectual marken:
a. Ku-nun ice
celrn*-nun-/*-ko iss/-e ci-nun-ta.
He-TOP now be young-*PRES/-*PRoG/-INCHO-DEC
'She is getting young now.'
b. Ku-nun
nulk-nun-/-ko is/-*e ci-nun-ta,
He-TOP now be old-PRES/-PROG/-*[NCHO-DEC
'She is getting old now.'
According to K.-D. Lee (19%: 113). when -e cita is used with inmsitive verbs that require an
agent (e.g. cam 'sleep*,t k t a 'get on*,or bra 'go'), it &notes potentiality associated with the speaker's
expectation or estimation.
The verb nulkta 'old (for animates)' only coocurs with aspect markers that are compatible
with non-states, which means that it is not a state lexically. More conectly, the meaning is
'get old', but it is never a compound or derived verb. Thus, there is a difference in meaning
as encoded in the lexicon, depending on whether or not there is a property of natural
transition in an event. Furthermore, this is a way in which languages may differ, since both
young and old in English are adjectives.
Process Verbs
Non-static verbs that involve some dynamic event are divided into process verbs and
non-process verbs, depending on whether or not the verb denotes a change of state. Process
verbs include accomplishment and achievement verbs, and the events described by these
verbs have natural end points (bound events). Further, depending on whether or not they
have an agent as the subject, the process verbs have two subgroups, Process I and Rocess
11. Rocess I verbs are compatible with the 'resultative' aspect form, -e iss-,whereas process
I1 verbs are not.
in Korean
A. nok-ta 'vi. melt'
cwuk-ta 'die'
kkuthna-ta 'be over'
na-ta 'come into existence, occur'
tul-ta 'enter, get in'
el-ta 'fteeze'
rnalu-ta 'get dry'
sal-ta 'stay alive, live'
ssek-ta 'rot'
karaan-ta 'sink'
nwup-ta 'tie'
tha-ta 'burn '
kkay-ta 'wake'
ttu-ta 'float, rise'
se-ta 'stand'
tat-hi-ta 'close'
eyl-ti-ta 'open'
ttel-li-ta 'tremble, shiver'
Bttel-eci-ta 'fall'
kkay-eci-ta 'be broken'
kkunh-eci-ta 'be cut, broken '
kku-eci-ta 'be off
khyeeci-ta 'be on'
tochakha-ta 'arrive'
ka-ta 'go'
o-ta 'come'
chala-ta 'grow'
nam-ta 'remain '
sokha-ta 'belong'
concayha-ta 'exist'
nok-i-ta 'melt'
cwuk-i-ta 'kill'
kkuthna-i-ta 'finish'
na-i-ta 'take out, bring about'
tul-i-ta 'let in'
el-li-ta 'freeze'
mal-li-ta 'dry'
sal-li-ta 'let live, save'
ssek-hi-ta 'let rot'
kwdan-hi-ta 'sink'
nwup-hi-ta 'lay'
thay-wu-ta 'burn'
kay-wu-ta 'wake'
ttuy-wu-ta 'float, fly'
sey-wu-ta 'stand'
tat-ta 'close'
eyl-ta 'open'
ttel-ta 'tremble, shiver'
ttel-ta 'shake (brush) off'
b y - t a 'break'
kkunh-ta 'to cut, break'
Wcu-ta 'turn off'
khye-ta turn on'
machi-ta 'finish, end'
ip-ta 'wear, put on (clothes)'
ssu-ta 'wear, put on'
tul-ta 'raise'
tha-ta 'get on'
kaci-ta 'take'
cwui-ta 'grasp'
ipta 'put on, wear'
et-ta 'obtain'
iki-ta 'win'
chac-ta 'find. look for'
In group A, the two types of process verbs are derivationally related with causative or
passive suffixes. Group B verbs are related to each other by a kind of passivization. Group
C shows an enumeration with no special relationship. While process I1 verbs can have only
one aspect marker,progressive -ko i s - , process I verbs can usually have either of two
aspect markers, resultative -r iss- and progressive -koiss-, and those two express distinctive
meanings. This will be addressed in section 2.2.
Verbs of Activity
Non-process verbs, which usually have an agent as subject and can take an
imperative ending, are called activity verbs. One interesting point is that they include verbs
indicating mental status (such as ihayhata 'understand', minu 'believe', salanghata 'love',
kiekhata 'remember'), and some psych-verbs, which are usually called -ehata fonns (such as
sulphu-data 'do, wear sadness', musep-rhuta 'be afraid of'). in the former, a change of
mental status is considered as a mental activity, and the subject is an agent. The latter psychverbs, which are derived from adjectival static psych-verbs, imply literally 'to do or to
behave one's emotion'. In other words. the subject shows some outward behavior or signs
of his or her emotional state (Y .-J. Kim 1990).
Activity verbs also can be divided into semelfactive and non-semelfactive verbs,
depending on whether the situation is punctual or not (Smith 1991). When co-occurring with
the progressive form, semelfactives usually have iterative aspects, while non-semelfactives
have continuous or durative aspects. Korean also shows this aspectual difference too in the
meaning, but, since this subf lassification is not significant morphosy ntaaically, I will ignore
Therefore, I suggest the following classification of Korean predicates, using three
features, [&static], [fagentive] and [ftelic] in connection with tense and aspect
Table 6: Classification of Korean Predicates
State ff
Process I
Process II
State I
Korean verbs are divided roughly into two groups, state and nonstate. Nonstate verbs are
divided into Process and Activity, depending on the feature [telic]. In addition, depending on
the feature [agentive], States are divided into two subgroups: State I and State II. and
processes into two subgroups: Process I and Process n.
Aspects in Korean
In this section, the two Korean peripheral markers, -e iss- and -ko iss-, will be
treated as pure aspect markers, resultative and progressive, respectively. Diachronically,
-c iss- has a longer history; -ko iss- is a relatively recent development. According to Bybee
and Dahl(1989), the progressive, like the perfect, tends to be expressed periphrastically
rather than inflectionally, indicating that the progressive concept is a relatively young
2.2.1 The Resultative Marker -E ISS-
In some previous analyses of Korean tense and aspect, there was terminological
confusion among perfect (anterior). perfective, and resultative. B y k e et al. (199454) define
resultative as an aspect that signals that a state exists as a result of a past action.
According to Bybee et al. (1994:63-64), resultative is often similar to passive in that
it usually takes the patient as the subject of the clause, but different from the passive in that it
may apply to intransitive verbs, as in 'he is gone', without a change of subject. Resultative is
compatible with the adverb still, and is used only with telic verbs whose situations have an
inherent endpoint and involve a change of state. This is exactly the case with -e iss-, which
occurs only with intransitive accomplishment and achievement verbs or lexically passive
verbs, that is, Process I (cf. Table 5).
According to Bybee & Dahl(1989). two mapr types of gmnmatical muphemes
'baud (or
core)' and 'peripheral* expressions. Bound maphemes are more grammacicalized than peripheralones.
a. Ku-nun
tochakha-e iss-ta.
he-TOP arrive-RESL-DEC
'He has arrived.'
b, Mwun-i
yel-li-e iss-ta.
'The door is opened. '
c. *Ku-ka
yel-e iss-ta.
he-NOM door-ACC
'He has opened the door. '
The transitive verb in (33c),which is the same accomplishment verb as in (33b), cannot cake
the resultative marker.
Some scholars say that -e iss- is not an aspect marker because of its rather restrictive
usage. It is limited to the Process I verbs (cf. Table 5). However, I claim that this restrictive
usage fully reflects the characteristics of resultative aspect. Thus, the Korean resultative form
denotes 'a persisting state resulting from a past action'.
2.2.2 The Progressive Marker -KO ISS-
Some scholars argue that -ko iss- has two functions, progressive and resultative. I
suggest that it is basically a progressive marker, and that the resultative is a secondary
meaning, which is derived from its co-ocumnce with some special telic verbs. I will show
that these telic verbs exhibit their uniqueness not only with the progressive marker, but also
with other tense aspect markers.
The only restriction on -ko i d 2 is that it cannot occur with states, i.e. adjectival
This fom is a combination of a copula iss and a verbal connective, which usually denotes 'and*or
'at the same time'. According to Bybee & Dahl(1989:81),in the process of the development of progressive,
its most common sources are locative expressions or copulas. Thus, the typical meaning of progressive is
that "a subject X is located in or at an irtivity (i) if that activity has a concrete, physical location, (ii) if X is
mobile (and capable of being located elsewhere),and (iii) if X is perhaps even a volitional agent who may at
times be involved in other activities,"They say that gradually the meaning of such constructions weakens,
giving rise eventually to h e aspectual meaning of progressive.
predicates. Due to the existence of the resultative form in Korean. -ko iss- denotes more
dynamic ongoing actions or developing states, compared with Japanese -tr iru- or English
-ing. When used with Process I verbs it has a distinctive meaning, as illustrated below.
se-e iss-ta.
'John is standing.'
se-ko iss-ta.
'John is standing up.'
nok-e iss-ta.
ice-NOM melt-RESL-DEC
'The ice is melted (lhave the ice melted).'
nok-ko iss-ta.
ice-NOM melt-PROG-DEC
'The ice is melting.'
The exampk in (34a) denotes that John's standing is a resulted state, whereas the example in
(34b) denotes that John's standing is in motion. Thus the basic meaning of -ko iss- is an
ongoing action. The examples in (35) are in same aspect, except that (35b) implies a state
that is developing before the speaker's eyes.
However, Like the English progressive. -ko iss- denotes an iterative or repetitive
aspect when it occurs with semelfactive verbs, which are punctual activity verbs without a
change of state (e.g. chota 'kick'. nuyiita 'hit'). Unlike the present tense, -ko iss- can imply
'a temporary habit', or 'tentative mental state':
a. John-un
cigarette-ACC NEG-bum-CAUS-PRES-DEC
'John does not smoke'
b. John-un
an-phi-u-ko iss-ta.
cigarette-ACC NEG-bum-CAUS-PROG-DEC
'John is not smoking (these days).'
a. John-un
'John believes this fact.'
b. John-un
this fact-ACC
'John believes this fact.'
mit-ko iss-ta.
Example (36a) denotes that John is a person who does not smoke. whereas (36b) implies
that he used to smoke but does not at the moment. In a similar fashion, while (37a) has a
neutral present meaning, implying that the subject's belief is finn,(37b) indicates that John's
belief is temporary or tentative at the moment. Hence. the implication of (37b) is that the
speaker assumes that the subject can change his mind at any moment (K.-D. Lee 1993:197).
On the other hand, the following sentences are ambiguous in meaning when h e y
have the progressive aspect form -ko iss-. The clauses with -koiss- represent either
progressive meaning or resultative meaning, as in (38).
a. Swuni-ka
ip-ko iss-ta.
'Swuni wears red./S wuni is putting on red clothes.'
b. Ku-ka
ta-ko iss-ta.
He-NOM car-LOC
get on-PROG-DEC
'He is in the car./ He is getting in the car.'
Both rntences in (38) describe not only an ongoing action but also a resultative state.
Some verbs that show this ambiguity are:
a. 'open' verbs:
yelta 'open (door), mttu 'open (eyes), pellita 'open (mouth)
tatta 'close (door)', kmta 'close (eyes)', khyeta 'turn on',
kkuta 'turn off', etc.
b. 'take' verbs:
kacita 'take, have', mlta 'hold', cita 'carry on the back',
meyta 'carry on the shoulder', cqpta 'hold, grasp',
cwuita 'grip', etc.
'wear' verbs:
ipta 'wear clothes', sinta 'wear shoes or socks',
ssutu 'wear glasses, hats', kkita 'wear gloves, ring',
talta 'hang up', &&a 'hang on or around', etc.
d. 'posture' verbs:
anfa 'hug, ambrace', Mota 'cross legs'. cipta 'put hand on'.
kitayta 'lean on or againstT,tayta 'touch', thata 'get on', etc.
The verbs of this group share certain characteristics. They are punctually telic, but not solely
These verbs show a change of state. They are two-state verbs with no
notable time gap between the two states, and the two states show opposite situations to each
other. For instance, an event 'open' or 'turn on' means that the absence of the particular
situation described by the verb turns into the presence of the situation. One thing in common
among these verbs is a change in a state, and that one event is usually considered as
completed only with the target state. In other words, it is difficultfor the initial state and the
final state to be separated in those events. Thus, it is a natural phenomenon that these verbs
have a resultative meaning when they appear with the progressive markers. And these verbs
exhibit this resultative meaning when they occur with other tense markers such as -as-.
What is significant about these verbs is that the -&aiss- not only has a resultative
meaning but also a progressive meaning, depending on where an emphasis is put. This tells
us that the basic meaning of -koiss- is ongoing events. In addition, it can have an iterative or
habitual meaning depending on the verb type. However, we do not define it as iterative or
habitual aspect since they are secondary or derived meanings. in the same fashion. the
resultative meaning is also just secondary.
Now we can summarize the occurrence of the aspect and tense markers with different
" 1 assume that these verbs are whievements in Korean.
verb classes in Korean. Hen '0' and '* ' represent 'compatibility' and 'incompatibility'
Table 7: Aspect
- and Tense Markers and Korean Verb Classes
-e iss(RESuLTAnVE)
Process I
Process II
-ko iss-
In Korean, the progressive form -ko iss- denotes, 'a momentary ongoing event'. Depending
on what event type it goes with, it can have a secondary meaning, such as iterative, habitual,
or resultative. It is compatible with verbs whose subject is not an agent, as long as they are
not states." On the other hand, the resultative form is not compatible with verbs that take an
apntive subject, even though they, in fact, can have a resultative meaning. These restrictions
follow from the cross-linguistic properties of the resultative suggested by Bybee et al.
(199453-67), as mentioned in 32.2.1.
Korean Tense Markers
This section makes use of the two-level analysis of the Korean verbal suffixes
proposed in the previous section to analyze two types of tenses-speaker-addressee-oriented
and situation-oriented. The uses of the two types of tense and their interactions are examined
from diachronic and synchronic perspectives. I suggest that Korean makes use of the
concepts of deictic tense and anaphoric tense. 82.3.1 addresses the characteristics of TE
tense, a speaker-addnssee-oricntedtense, and 12.3.2 those of situation-oriented tenses.
According to Bybee et aL (1994: 136). among the progmsive meanings. the requirement that the
subject be an agent is gradually expanded, probably at the same time as the notion of activity extends to
include developing states. Later. h e y say, progressive usually develops into imperfective or pesent tense.
82.3.3 shows that Korean has a two-tiered tense structure that is composed of the deictic
time relation and anaphoric time relation.
2.3.1 The Speaker-Oriented Tense and Shifted Reference Point
There has been a great deal of controversy concerning the grammatical and semantic
status of the so-called retrospective marker -re-. It has been considered to be various
categories, such as tense, aspect, mood, tenseaspect, or manner. The most widely-accepted
views are to define -te- as tense (H.-B. Choi 1983, Gim 1980, D.-J. Choi 1994, and Han
1096) or to define it as mood.
D.-J. Choi (1994) considers -re- a tense that moves the standpoint to the past time. In
other words, it moves the location of the speaker to a point prior to the utterance point. Han
(19%) clairns that Korean has two kinds of tense relations, 'cognition tense' and 'situation
tense', depending on the reference time that the tense denotes. He says that -re- denotes
cognition time prior to the utterance time.
H.-M. Sohn (1994) treats -te- as a retrospective mood, and Suh (1996) treats it as a
reportive mood. In fact, many researchers have noted the special contextual properties of
-te-,as reflected in the terms they use to refer to it:
Retrospection. reporting, and irresponsibility (Gim 1980)
Objective Conveyance (Y u 198 1)
Discontinuity of consciousness (Y im 1982)
Experience (Huh 1987)
Pasmess, report, and perception (S.-0. Sohn 1995)
Anteriority of cognition time (Han 19%)
Past perception (C.-K. Lee 1996)
Reportive (Suh 1996)
D.4. Choi (1994) claims that various contextual meanings (objective reporting,
recollection, and recognition) and implicational manings (irresponsibility. psychological
distance, nonchalant attitude, vivid explanation, and new realization) are derived from the
shift of a reference point. That is, those various meanings are possible because of
'reservation of perception at the utterance time', 'a timelag between cognition time and
utterance time', and 'reference to situation at cognition time'. Thus he says that the tenses
whose reference point is the speech point, the present moment, are more affirmative and
reliable than TE tense. For the latter, since the reference point is shifted to some point
together with the speaker's viewpoint, it has some distance from the utterance tirnc.
Similarly, H A . Lee (1991) suggests that the basic function of -re- is locating the
speaker's viewpoint at the moment of perceptual experience in the past. However, he says
that it is a past imperfective aspect marker, not a tense marker, even though it has the
semantic function of tense,
In this thesis, I suggest that -te- is a speaker-addressee-orientedtense marker, which
leads to a deictic past tense. In fact, the reason why so many scholars have tried to figure out
the grammatical category and the semantics of -te- is that there is another past-like tense
marker -as-.The two are similar in terms of a temporal relation, anteriority, but are different
in terms of function, meaning, and implications. These various terms used to refer to -te-
(see (40))result from speaker-addressee orientation. We cannot say that the nuin concepts
such as 'retrospection', 'perception', or 'experience' pertain to TE tense only. because those
concepts can accompany other tenses, such as simple past. Besides, 'reportive' is
presupposed by the speaker-addressee-orientedproperty.
TE tense has been said to have many grammatical or pragmatic restrictions, such as
'Non-equi-subject constraint', 'Equi-subject constraint' in the verbs of sensory experience,
or 'New information constraint' (Gim 1980. Han 1996). The non-equi-subject constraint is
that the subject of a sentence with -te- cannot be identical with the speaker:
a. *Na-La
school-LOC go-TE-DEC
'I saw (perceived) myself going to school.'
He-NOM school-LOC go-TE-DEC
'I saw him going to school.'
b. Ku-ka
is pretty-TE-DEC
'I noticed (perceived) I was pretty.'
d . Kunye-ka
S he-NOM
is pretty-TE-DEC
'I noticed she was pretty.'
On the other hand, the equi-subject constraint is that the subject of a sentence with -re- must
be identical with the speaker if the verb expresses the speaker's sensory experience:
a. Na-nun
'1 felt (perceived) I liked you.'
b. *Ku-nun
be good-TE-DEC
c hoh-te-la.
be good-TE-DEC
'I felt (perceived) he liked you.'
The new information constraint is that -re- must be used in a sentence that gives new
information. This means that the speaker must use -tr- under the assumption that the
addressee does not know the information to be conveyed by the speaker. Thus, -re-cannot
be used in the sentences describing such common knowledge as in (43):
??Yi Swun-Sin
Yi Swun-Sin
general-NOM hero-be-TE-DEC
'I noticed (perceived) General Swun-Sin Yi was a hero. '
Sentences (41a) and (41c) describe the action or appearance of the speaker, and the
appearance of -te- is unacceptable. Only the speaker's feelings or emotions are compatible
with -re-, as in (42a). Sentence (43) is unacceptable because both the speaker and addressee
would alnady know the information of the sentence.
D.4. Choi (1994:65-68) explains all the above constraints with one constraint, the
'Shifted Reference Point Constraint'. He says that the situations described by data like (41)
are things that the perceiver-describer (speaker) can neither perceive nor describe at the pastshifted reference point, since the speaker cannot perceive and describe his or her own actions
but only other people's actions. On the other hand, in (42)' the speaker cannot perceive and
describe anything other than her or his own feeling or emotion. In (43) there is no need for
the speaker to perceive the knowledge she or he already has, and the speaker cannot go back
to those days to see the historical scene except in a movie.
As a matter of fact, I claim that even Choi's (1994) 'Shifted Reference Point
Constraint' is not required, because a discourse situation under the presence of a speaker and
an addressee involves those constraints. Depending on the context, sentences like (41a),
(41c).and (43)are acceptable:
(41a)' (Kkwum-eyse)
1 -NOM
school-LOC go-TE-DEC
'(In my dream) I saw (perceived) myself going to school.'
(4 1 c)' Kusalamtultwungeyse
ceyil yeppu-te-la.
best is pretty-TE-DEC
'I noticed (perceived) I was the prettiest among them.'
(43)' Yeksi
Yi Swun-Sin cangkwun-i yengung-i-te-la.
as expected (still)
Yi Swun-Sin general-NOM hero-be-TE-DEC
'I noticed (perceived)General Y i was ;r hero as expected.'
In addition, (42b) is still not fully acceptable without -re-, and (44) is grammatical.
(42 b)' *n?Ku-nun/ka
'He likes you.'
choh- tit.
be good-DEC
'He likes you.'
choh-aha-te-la (ta).
We see that the reason for the ungramrnaticality of (42b) is not the presence of -te-, but the
lexical property of the verb. This is because state verbs of sensory experience tend to avoid
third person subjects since these verbs usually describe the speaker's subjective feelings
(Gim 1980:91. D.4. Choi 1994:67). Thus, all the constraints about -te- can be accounted for
in connection with the speaker-addressee-oriented property. that is, all concepts are
presupposed by the utterance under the presence of a speaker and an addressee. The new
information constraint is closely related to one of Grice's (1975:45-46) four maxims of
conversation, 'the Maxim of Quantity'. which requires the speaker to make his or her
contribution as informative as is required in the current conver~ation.~~
According to Yu (198 1:226), the semantic definition of -re- is 'the speaker's
objective conveyance of the situation that the speaker perceived outside of the utterance scene
and that had nothing to do with the speaker's volition'. Although this definition accounts for
many uses of -re-, it is problematic when verbs expressing states of sensory experience are
involved, as in (42a). We cannot say that the acceptability of examples like (42a) is
completely related to the speaker's objective conveyance of the situation of his or her
perception. Rather they describe the speaker's subjective emotion. I suggest instead that all
the semantic characteristics of -te- are derived from the fact that the speaker of an utterance
and the perceiver-describe16of a situation are the same, and this is a part of the speaker-
addresseeoriented property of -tee.
Grice's (1975:45-46) maxims are four different types of conversational implicaturcs as foUows:
The Maxim of Quantity: Make your conmbution as informative as is required for the current
pllrposes of the exchange.
The Maxim of Quality: Try to make yow conmbution one that is m.
The Maxim of Relation: Be relevant.
me Maxim of Manner: Be perspicuous. and specifically: avoid ambiguity and obscurity
be brief and orderly.
Here Ib w e d McGilvray's (1991) concept of the perceiver-describer.
Until the fifteenth century, -te- was the only marked past tense morpheme. At that
time. it seems that it was used less restrictively than now. Let's compare the current use of
-te- with its use of the fifteenth century.
a. Nay
b. ? ? ~ a - k a
house-LOC ~ ~ - P . A Ttime-LOC
trouble-NOM much-TE-DEC
'When I was at home I had a lot of toil/trouble.'
While (45a) is a sentence from 15th century literature (Huh 1987:12), (45b)is a version in
modem Korean, which is unacceptable. Presumably. it used to function as simple deictic
past tense, not only as a speaker-addressee-orientedform as in present usage. In this respect,
it can be said that a situation-oriented tense marker has developed into a speaker-oriented
tense marker.28 Some interesting evidence for this view is that -re- does not have those
speaker-oriented properties, but functions as a simple deictic past tense when it appears in
adnominal clauses in modem Korean. According to D . 4 Choi (1988. 1989), as cited in H.S. Lee (1991:317), the late 15th century tense system is retained in the adnominal tense of
modem Korean.
H A .Lee (1991) says that contemporary -te- is a past imperfective marker.
However, this imperfectivity does not hold when it combines with -as-.
a. John-i
kongpwu-lul ha-te-la.
saw that) John was studying.'
According to Huh (1987: 1 1). -re- used to have several dlomorphs depending on the subject. With
a f i person subject, it was realized as -la- or -la-, and, wih a second or the lhird person subject. it is realized
as -te- or ole-.
According to Bybee et al. (L994),cross-linguistically. agentdenled modality develops into
speaker-orienledmodality. This seems to be the case in rhe developmentof -re-. This nee& huther march.
b. John-i
kongpwu-lul ha-ess-te-la.
study-ACC do-ESS-TE-DEC
'John had studied.'
In sentence (46a). with -tu-, John's studying holds at the past-shifted reference point. In
contrast. in (46b), with a combination of -re- and -ess-, the event was prior to and does not
hold at the reference point. There is no implication of a progressive or continuous event at
the reference point or at some time before the reference point. This is because. unlike normal
deictic tenses, -te- does not refer to situation time. but moves the speaker's viewpoint or
shifts the reference point into the past from the speech point. The reason -te- seems to have
an imperfective meaning in examples like (46a) is due to the null form present tense, which
plays an active role in the modem Korean tense system. This issue will be addressed further
in the following section.
Therefore, I propose that -re- is a speaker-addressee-orientedtense and deictic past
tense, denoting that the reference point is at some point in the past. All the constraints that
-te- has been said to be subject to are accounted for by the speaker-addressee-orientationthat
requires the presence of the speaker and the addressee and the identity of the speaker and the
perceiver-describer of a given situation. This means that TE tense involves the speaker in a
given situation as a perceiver/describer. This property does not pertain to simple deictic
tenses. In addition, its function is to set up the fvst deictic time relation. in order for situation
times (later anaphoric tenses) to set based on the deictic tense.
2.3.2 Situation-Oriented Tense Markers
In this section, I show that what are called situation-oriented tenses in Korean, which
are usually represented by @/-nun-, -as-,and -&eyss-,have either deictic time relations or
anaphoric time relations. depending on the context. Hence, they are basically anaphoric
tenses. I will call @/-nun-, - a s - and -kryss- anaphoric present, anaphoric past, and
anaphoric future tense, respectively. I also address the duplicated form -em-ess- in
connection with -ess-.
Anaphoric Present Tense
-Nun- '9 is controversial as a present tense marker because its distribution is highly
restricted. It appears only when a non-static verb refers to non-past time and at the same time
takes the plain (neutral) style endings of the declarative and the interrogative (-laand -nya),
and appears in an adnominal clause.
a. John -i
kongpwu-lul ha-nun-ta.
study-ACC do-PRES-DEC
'John studiedis studying.'
b. *John -i
be diligent-PRES-DEC
'John is diligent.'
c. *John -i
kongpwu-lul ha-nun-e (yo).
study-ACC do-PRES-fNF (DEF)
'John studiedis studying.'
-Nun- cannot appear with to static verbs as in (47b). However, even though the verb is nonstatic, it cannot take -nun- when it occurs with endings other than the plain neutral ending in
H.-B. Choi (1983) considers -nun- a present progressive form with two other
allomorphs, -nu- and [email protected] (1980) and Suh (1996) take it for a meaningless morpheme,
but Kim (1990) considers it to be an 'action operator' (Suh l996:235). H.-S. Lee (199 1)
" -Nun- has two allomorphs: -nu- ud -n-.
suggests that -nun- is also an imperfective aspect marker and that its non-past meaning is the
result of locating the speaker's viewpoint within the event frame of the situation described.
Slightly different analyses are given by D.-J. Choi (1994) and Han ( 1995). They
both claim that -nu- is a tense marker and that it is a partner with -te- with respect to
cognition tirne because they appear in complementary distribution. According to Han ( 1993,
there are two types of -nu-,the true one and the reduced one. As opposed to -en-, which is
the marker indicating that the situation tirne precedes before the cognition time. the true -nuindicates that the situation time is simultaneous with the cognition time. As opposed to -te-,
whose meaning is 'cognition time prior to the utterance time'. the reduced -nil- is the marker
that indicates 'cognition time at the utterance time'.
Historically, it is true that -nu- and -tr- used to be paired in that the one referred to
present time and the other to past h e . It seems that the use of -nu- was not as restrictive
then as it is now, since it used to occur with static verbs. Its old usage still remains as a
frozen morpheme in several verbal endings, such as -nits. -ni(kku), and -my (Han 1996.
Huh 1987).
However, we no longer recognize the -nu- in those morphemes as a (present) tense
in modem Korean. Current speakers have the intuition that the -nun- has a relationship with
nonstatic verbs synchronically. Moreover, the existence of -nun- has already been threatened
by the phonologically null form. In informal use. the most common verbal ending is -e(yo),
as H.-S. Lee (1991) shows, and it takes the null form present, regardless of the type of
verb. Thus, in modem Korean, -te- has settled down as a speaker-oriented past tense, since
it has no restriction in distribution or co-occurrence with any verb type. On the other hand,
the meaning and distribution of -nun- have been restricted: in modem Korean, it cannot
occur with static verbs. Thus, many scholars doubt that it is really a tense. It is also possible
that -nun- will eventually be replaced by the null form, as has happened to similar tense
markets in other language^.'^
Accading to Huh (1987). the decline of -nu- is closely related to the rise of the progressive from
-b iss-. This means that, Wet, the phonetically-null present fonn may develop into an aspectdly neutral
@resent) tense.
However, -nun- still has a clear meaning, present imperfective, and in complement
clauses it plays a distinctive role as relative present tense. As for Han's (1996) -nu-of
cognition tirne simultaneous with utterance time, the situation time is also simultaneous with
the utterance time. In fact, modem Korean does not allow the combination of -nu- and -ess-,
except in frozen endings like -nits, ni(kka). and -my . Thus, I suggest that the unmarked
present tense form is a null form, and -nun- is a marked form for distinguishing a nonstatic
verb from a static verb when the situation of the verb is simultaneous with the reference
One reason for two types of present tense in Korean is that, as Han (1996) says,
Korean has two different types of predicates, verbal predicates and adjectival predicates,
which both function as verbs without a copula. In other words, they both are the same type
of predicate formally, differing only in their semantics. Verbal predicates ofcur with -nun-,
which usually denotes an ongoing event, whereas adjectival predicates are incompatible with
the concept of an ongoing event.
When the reference point is at the speech point, the Korean anaphoric present tense,
0 or -nun-, is almost the same as the English present tense, since the present tense in both
languages satisfy the characteristics of present tense as defined by Comrie (1985). Fist, the
event is located at the present moment. Second, present refers to an unrestrictive tirne
location that occupies a much longer period of time than the present moment, such as the
situation of static verbs or truths that hold at all time as a generic use. Third, the present is
used in describing habitual situations, that is, for a habit that holds at the present moment.
However, the Korean present tense has slightly different characteristics from the
Enghsh present tense, in that it refers exactly to an ongoing situation at the point of
reference. while the English present does not denote an ongoing situation. This ongoing
In this
property of the present tense is not unique, but common cross-ling~istically.~'
respect, the English present tense seems unique.
The French present. the Italian present, and the Spanish present denote an agoing event at the
speech time (Sake 1989, Giorgi & Pianesi 1997. and Zagona 1990).
According to Bybee et al. (1994: 126) and Comrie (1976:25), present and
imperfective are more general and abstract, whereas progressive, continuous, and habitual
are more specific. Hence, present and imperfective include the meanings of progressive,
continuous, and habitual, but not vice versa. The grammatical category of -nun- is not a
progressive form. since it includes habitual or gnomic situations. Imperfective is usually
considered as the contrastive partner of perfective, and can be applicable to either past.
present, or future time. An imperfective restricted to the present time is simply a present
tense, and, hence, present is a subtype of imperfective (Bybee et a1 1994). Therefore. I
suggest that @/-nun- is an anaphoric present tense. This present tense is always simultaneous
with a reference point such as the speech time, a shifted deictic point in the past, or the event
time of the matrix verb.
According to Huddleston (1977:732), present tense in English is used as a 'futurate',
in which the present is understood as referring to future time, as in (48a). Korean present
tense is also used as a 'futurate*,as in (48b).
a. The sun rises at 6 tomorrow.
b. Nayil
'The sun rises at six tomorrow .*
Thus, it seems that present tense inherently does not refer to present but to non-past.
However, as Shaer (1991:99- 100) points out, there is also a past-tensed futurate in English.
This is the case in Korean too.
a. Ijoinedtomorrow.
b. The Game started at Seven. (Quirk et al. 1985:a 14.3 1, cited Shaer 1996:100)
'You died ( w e n killed) tomorrow.'
Here, futurate is used to indicate that a future situation is as certain as a present fact or a past
situation that has already occurred. The futurate, in contrast to the future, is used to express a
statement rather than a prediction (Boyd and Thome 1969, Shaer 1996:100). Another way of
interpreting the futurate is that the speaker moves the reference point to the future time. That
is, at the shifted reference point, the speaker sees the situation holding or as having already
happened, based on his or her belief or knowledge, in order to derive such certainty as
present or past tense provides.
Another future use of the Korean present tense is related to the ongoing motion of the
present tense. In sentences with nonstatic verbs, the Korean present tense refers to future
time with P i t i c h h e adverbials. Especially when the present tense combines with telic verbs
(e.g. kata 'go', tocho&hata 'arrive'). it can refer to future time without future time adverbiais
(see (5 la)); but this is not the case with atelic verbs (see (5lb)):
a. John-i
'John is going on a holiday.'
b. John-i
'John is studying now.'
Without future time adverbials, (5la) can indicate a future event, whereas (5 1b) does not
usually refer to future time. In order to refer to future time, (51b) needs a future adverb or a
future context 'Ihis phenomenon of future reference ;u: in (5 la) is also closely related to the
fact that the verb is telic. Due to the relative punctuality of the verb, it is possible that the verb
does not occur with the present tense representing an ongoing or unfolding event. Instead,
the events they describe usually refer to immediate future. In addition, the future meaning of
present tense in coocumnce with t c k verbs is not restricted in Korean. In English, the
Telic verbs show this tendency more
present progressive can refer to future time
strongly. One way of making other types of verbs alic in English is to add be going to.
In sum, the Korean present tense denotes simultaneity with a reference point and an
imperfective aspectual meaning. Its secondary use is future time reference with adverbials
denoting future time. According to Bybee et al. (1994:275), it is usual that a general present
imperfective can be used for future time reference in a future context, but the presence of the
future reference is required. In fact, it is possible to say that the Korean present tense is
becoming a more general tense covering present situations and the immediate future, since it
refers to the future when there is a future reference.
Anaphoric Past Tense
Another tense marker. -as-, basically denotes situation tim prior to a reference
point. When the reference point is at the speech point, it refers to past situations and also to
more recent past situations with current relevance, especially with telic verbs. Thus, -esscorresponds to the English perfect tense (Anterior),on the one hand, and to the English past
tense on the other. Due to this characteristic of -ess-, Korean has an additional past form, the
duplicated past marker, -css-as-.
There are three approaches to -ess-. The first approach, which has been accepted by
most traditional Korean grammarians, including H.-B.
Choi (1983), Gim (1980, 1985.
1993), and C.-M.Lee (1985), considers -ess- to be past tense. not perfective. The second
approach regards -ess- as perfective aspect, not as past tense (Na 1971, Nam 1978). Under
this approach, -ess- represents perfective aspect, while the coven form, -8,
According to Huddleiton (1977). the fume use of the present pgnssive is Merent fmcn
progressive aspect. The third approach, taken by Suh (1996), H.-M. Sohn (1994), and
S.-0. Sohn (1995), is that -ess- simultaneously represents tense and aspect, which means
that -ess- is a single category t e m d 'tense aspect' that covers a dual function.13
Korean -us-appears with all types of verbs, without any restriction in simple
sentences, as in (52).
a. John-i
'John wrote a letter.'
b. John-i
'John was sick.'
c. John-nun
'John was a student.'
-ESP co-occurs with static verbs and represents a past state. Usually perfective does not
occur with static verbs, and perfective represents a present state when it occurs with static
verbs (Bybee et al. 1994. Smith 1997). Consider the following Mandarin Chinese examples
(Smith 1997:264-265):
a. Wo
'I wrote a letter yesterday.'
yifeng xin.
one-CL letter.
b. Wo
'I got sick.'
According to H.-M. Soh (1994) and S.-0. Sohn (1995). -ess- has a dual function. Depending on
the context, it serves either as past tense or as perfect and has two different suffix slots. Thus, H.-M.Sohn
(1994321) claims that if both slots are filled, as in -ess-ess-, they den- pluperfect.
When static verbs occur with the perfective marker -le without a time adverb, as in (52b).
they have a derived inchoative reading, representing a present situation. Otherwise. -le does
not appear with static verbs (Smith 1997:265). Without -1e, sentence (54) represents a past
state, due to the adverb of past time zuotiun 'yesterday'.
very happy.
'Yesterday Mary was (very) happy.'
However, this is not the case in Korean, in which -en-is required for a past state. as
in (52b, c). In addition, if -as-is perfective, it should not co-occur with -koiss-,which
indicates progressive aspect However, -as- is completely compatible with -ko iss-.
a. lohn-i
( c w )
'John is studying.'
kongpwu-ha-ko iss-ta.
b. John-i
'John was studying (then).'
kongpwu-ha-ko iss-ess-ta.
According to Bybee et al. (1994:95), differences between perfective and simple past
are as follows:
a. Perfective contrasts with non-zero imperfective, while past either co-occurs with
imperfective to make a past impafective, or is used alone to signal both
perfective and imperfective past.
b. Perfective is sometimes zero-marked, but past is not
c. Perfective is either not used with static verbs or has the effect of signaling a
present state with static verbs. Past signals a past state.
d. Perfective is sometimes used for future or with future, but past is not.
Another difference they note is that perfective seems to interact with the lexical semantics of
verbs more than past does. That is, perfective offers a particular perspective on the action
described by the verb and thus interacts with the verb's inherent semantics, while the past
has scope over the entire proposition (Bybee et al. 1994:92).
Even though -en- has developed fiom the resultative aspect marker -c is(i)-,
synchronically it has settled down as a tense marker, as evidenced by its use with static
verbs. HA.Lee ( 1991:247) claims that the basic grammatical meaning of -en-is
'antenority', which is neutral between tense and aspect., and should not be confused with the
notion of relative past tense. He says that this temporal relativity is implied, but not
inherently presumed, and that -as-also has a meaning of completion, which is related to
perfective, as below (HA. Lee 1991:233-234).
a. Swuni-nun
School-LOC go-TRANS
'On her way to school. Swuni saw Chelswu.'
Chelswu-lul po-ess-ta.
Chelswu-ACC see-ESS-DEC
b. Swuni-nun
Chelswu-lul po-ess-ta.
Swuni-TOP School-LOC go-ESS-TRANS Chelswu-ACC see-ESS-DEC
'When she went to school, Swuni saw Chelswu.'
Hen, -taka is a suffut expressing s shift in action or a transition to another action. The
difference between the two sentences is that (57b) takes -ess-, whereas (570) has no overt
marking of tense, that is, the null form present tense. In (57b), Swuni got to the school,
whereas (57a) indicates that she saw Chelswu on her way, before she got to school. Thus,
he says that -ess- indicates a completed action. However, this difference is also accounted
for by relative tense. Unlike the English present tense. Korean (anaphoric) present tense
denotes an ongoing situation, functioning as a background situation. In (57a), two actions
happened at the same time. On the other hand. in (57b), -ess- mans that Swuni's going to
school is before her seeing Chelswu. Thus, the completion of an action in (57b) is an
implied meaning. By definition, 'anteriorit)" is a temporal property, as mentioned before.
Bybee et al. (1994:105) suggest that cross-linguistically, resultative (or completive)
develops into anterior. and eventually leads to simple past or perfective, and provide the
following hypothesized path of development.
Figure 1: Paths of Development to Simple Past and Perfective
derivational perfective
Further. anterior is divided into two stages, young anterior and old anterior, in terms of the
degree of rnorphologicd dependence and addition of other meanings to the basic anterior
meaning. In the final stage, anterior leads to simple past or perfective, depending on whether
the language in question has past imperfective or not (Bybee et al. 1994).
Korean -as-has taken the same route as in Figure 1. First, the resultative form,
-c is(i)- (infinitival plus copula), went through the stage of anterior, and eventually came to
function as a tense. According to Bybee et al. (1994:78), the Germanic preterite came to be a
simple past tense via the same route. I assume that the difference between the Germanic
preterite and -en- is that -ess- cannot become a deictic past tense due to the existence of the
speaker-oriented past tense -re- in Korean. Rather, it has settled down as a situation-oriented
relative past tense. That is why it can be used for future time reference.
There are several arguments that -as-is not just anterior like English perfect. First, it
has shifted to a bound suffix from a peripheral form, which is one of the significant criteria
for determining whether a marker is anterior or past (or perfective), according to Bybee and
Dahl(1989).Second, when anterior combines with stative verbs, it indicates a present state
or an inchoative meaning (Bybee et al. 1994).'~However, when -as-co-occurs with static
verbs, it denotes a past situation without present relevance. Third, the basic meaning of
anterior is cumnt relevance, but current relevance is not the basic concept of -ess-. Rather, it
is a derived secondary meaning depending on the verb type. When -em- appears with static
verbs or nontelic action verbs, it does not indicate current relevance.
-ESP occurs with the adverb cikum 'now', as well as with adverbials with past time
a. John-i
'John has mived now.'
b+ John-i
'John anived yesterday.'
This means that -ess- has recent past and simple past uses, without any restriction on
whether an event is definite or indefinite. When it co-occurs with telic verbs, it indicates
current relevance or resultative.
a. John-i
get on-ESS-DEC
'John got on the car (John is in the car).'
b. john-i
school-LOC go-ESS-DEC
'John went to school (John is at school).'
In terms of this criterion, the old form -(ulni-, which functioned as a kind of p t tense up until
the 15h century, correspondsto anterior. When it occurred with non-static verbs, it &noted past time,
whereas it &noted a ptesent state when it occumd wilh static verbs. The appearance of -em- is closely related
to Ihe loss of -(u)ni- as a tense-like marker in simple sentences (Hm 1996). In other words, -ess- presumably
inhetired the poperties of -(u)ni- and her developed into past -m-,Meanwhile, -(u)ni- is retained in
adnominal clauses in modem Korean.
c. John-i
'John has lost his watch.'
This current relevance or resultative meaning is not always required when a past time adverb
is present.
However, -ess- does not have a persistent situation (or anterior continuing) reading.
Instead, for persistent situation, the present tense is used.
(60) a. John-nun 1990-nyen ilay
sal-nun-ta/sal-ko iss-ta.
John-TOP 1WO-year since
Pusan-LOC ~~v~-PRES-DEC/~~V~-PRW-DEC
'literally, John lives/is living in Pusan since 1990.'
'fohn has lived in Pusan since 1990.'
These uses of - a s - so far are ahnost the same as those of the French pas& cornpod and the
German perfect, which are taking over the function of the simple past tense in those
languages (Salkie 1989).''
Korean has another situation-oriented past vnse marker, -css-as-, which seems to
be a doubling of -rss-.There are three main approaches to the duplicated past form. First, it
is regarded as a pure aspect. Nam (1978) analyzes it as an aspect of discontinuity. Second, it
is considered as a past tense form with an 'experiential-contrastive' aspect (N.-K. Kim
1975)36or with the meaning of 'discontinuity from the present moment' (C.-M. Lee
1985)." Third, it is treated as a pluperfect tense with the meaning of 'past in the past'
According to S&e (1989). the reason the present perfect is used for a persistent situation in
English is that the English present tense does not signal an ongoing event. unlike the present tense of French
or German.
According to N.-K.Kim (1975). while the fust -en- is a past, the second -ess- is an 'experientidcontrastive' aspect.
Accading to C.-M. Lee (1985:436). the tnrrh-cMdjtid meaning 01 -es-ess- is that here was
an event in the past and the event or the result state of he event discontinued at some time betwem the event
t h e and the speech time. whereas the single lam -ess- has the t m h t o n d i t i d meaning of some event
(H.-B. Choi 1983, H.-M. Sohn 1994, S.-0. Sohn 1995, Han 1996).jn
The problem with the last approach is that, as opposed to English pluperfect,
-ess-en- cannot be said to have another reference point besides the point of situation and the
point of speech:
a. Yesterday, John had left already /the previous day.
pelsse/ku chen-nal
Yesterday Joh n - ~ o M dready/the before-day
'Yesterday (I found) John had left alreadylthe day before.'
b. Ecey-(nun) John-i
c. *Eyce-(nun)
pelsse/ku chen-nal
already/the before-day
Both the English pluperfect and the Korean -te- tense allow another point besides the
situation point of John's leaving, but the -ess-en- form does not allow two different time
In addition, as C.-M.Lee (1985438) points out, the pluperfect meaning of -css-asis difficult to sustain without the aid of an adverb such asprlsse 'already' as in (62).
a. Swuni-ka
Swuni-NOM station-LOC
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ - P A S T - P .when
kicha- ka
*'When Swuni arrived at the station, the train had left.'
occurring in the past and l e pagmatic implication of the result state of the event continuing until the speech
time. Thus, tnrthconditio~y,the single form can replace the reduplicated form but not vice versa.
HM (1996) says that -ess-ess- h not pluperfect but a simple duplication 'past of past'.
b. Swuni-ka
S wuni-NOM
tochakha-ess-ul ttay
kicha-la pelsse
amve-PAST-P.An when train-NOM already
'When Swuni arrived at the station, the train had (already) left.'
In fact, without pelsse 'already'. (62a) means that Swuni's arriving and the train's leaving
happened at the same time. More comctly. (6%) means that after Swum's Yriving, the edn
left. Even sentence (62b), with pelsse 'already', does not seem natural for the reading given
in (62b).39 This means that -ess-ess-does not have the time-relational meaning (past in past)
that pluperfect has.
One more signiticant point is that this duplicate past form is interchangeable with the
simple form, -as-on static verbs or sometimes with active verbs.
a. Na-nun
'I was a student.'
b. Na-ka
ku hakkyo-lul
'I went to the school.'
tani-ess-(ess-) ta.
go and come-ESS-(ESS-)DEC
The more natural sentences would be as follows:
'When Swuni iurived iu the sation, the main h;d left.'
'litetally, It was after the train kft when Swuni arrived at the station.'
'(I perceived h t ) When Swuni anived a! the station, the train had left.'
Further, in spoken language, people often use a triple - a s - form without adding special
linguistically significant meaning.
ku nal
You that day
school-LOC go-ESS-(ESS-)(ESS-)INT
'Did you go to school on that day'!'
ung, ka-ess-(ess-)(ess-)ta.
'Yes, I went.'
However, for process verbs. which have punctual and telic properties, the duplicate
form has significance. For those verbs, the - a s - form has a pragmatic implication that the
resultative state of a past event is continuous, that is, it has current relevance.
a. John-uy
'John's father died (John's father is dead).'
cu k-ess-ess-ta.
'John had died (John is alive again now).'
b. John-i
a. John-i
ppakah-un 0s-lul
clothes-ACC put on-ESS/*-ESS-ESS-DEC
'John put on red clothes (John is dressed in red).'
b. John-i
ppalkah-un 0s-lul
clothes-ACC put on-ESS-ESS-DEC
'John put on red clothes/used to wear red clothes.
(John is not dressed in red now./John does not wear red clothes any more.)'
This meaning of the duplicate form, absence of the current relevance of the past events, is
closely related to the lexical properties of these telic verbs. These verbs rarely combine with
the present tense, because the Korean present tense denotes an ongoing event That is, the
punctuality of these verbs makes it difficult for it to be an ongoing event. In addition, when
they occur with past tense, they imply a resultative meaning or current relevance, due to the
short-term length of their events. Funher, in order to have a past time reference without
current relevance, they make use of this duplicate form -as-ess-.
Thus, as C.-M. Lee (1985) says, the -as-ess- form has past time reference like
- a s - , but has a different pragmatic implication of the absence of current relevance. That is
why -ess-rss- does not usually co-occur with time adverbs that refer to the present moment,
as opposed to the simple form, -ess-. The duplicated -ess represents past experiences, past
states, or past habits that are no longer continuing, like English usrd to. In short, both - a s and - a s - a s - are past tense. But the former refers to recent past, whereas the latter refers to
remote past that is no longer relevant to the present moment. This property is related not only
to temporal or physical remoteness but also to psychological distance from the present
Anap horic Future Tense
-Keyss- and -ul kes i- have future time reference but it is unclear whether they are
tense markers or markers of modality. In earlier treatments, they were considered future
tense markers. H.-B. Choi (1983) says that -keyss- is a future tense marker and at the same
time a modal marker. Gim (1980) and Nam (1996) say that - k y s s - is a modal marker that
means 'uncenainty ' or 'undecidedness'. Y .-K. Kim (1994) and Suh (1 996) consider -keyssa modal marker implying 'presumption' or 'inference'.
Consider the following examples:
a. Na-ka
ka- keyss-ta.
'I will go.'
b. Pi-ka
'(Probably) it will rain.'
c. John-i
ka- keyss-ta.
'(Probably) John will go.'
a. Na-ka
ka-ul kes i-ta.
'I will go.'
0-ul kes i-ta.
'(I predict) it will rain.'
b. Pi-ka
c. John-i
ka-ul kes i-ta.
'(Ipredict) John will go.'
These two forms, -keyss- and -ul krs i-, are alike in that they have basically future time
reference, but, in terms of modality, they have different meanings. The former is more
closely related to the speaker's subjectivity, that is. the speaker's intention or inference,
depending on whether the subject is the same penon as the speaker or not. The latter
represents the future event 'being scheduled to be done' based on more external. casual, or
objective grounds (C.-M. Lee l985:U 1).
However, the problem is that, under a meaning of presumption or prediction, -keyss-
and -ul kes i- both can refer to present time or to past lime with the past marker, -rss-.
a. Cikum kuki-nun
rain-NOM'(Probably) it is raining then now.'
b. Cikurn
t here-TOP
'(I predict) it is raining there now.'
o-ul kes i-ta.
a. John-i
cikurn-ccum toc hakha-ess-keyss-ta.
now-around arrive-ESS-KEYSS-DEC
'Probably John arrived by now. '
b. John-i
cikwn-ccurn tochakha-ess-ul kes i-ta.
no w-around arrive-ESS-FUT-DEC
'I predict John anived by now.'
Here -&eyss-and -ul kes i- both lack a temporal property, and convey only modality, such as
the speaker's inference or prediction of situations that she cannot (or could not) see before
her eyes. As mentioned before, ihe present tense also can be used for future time reference.
For these reasons, the existence of future tense has been in dispute.
In almost all languages, the future tense has some characteristic of modality. As
Bybee et al. (1994) point out, the central functions of future markers are intention and
prediction. It follows from this that future is less a temporal category than a category
resembling agent-oriented and episternic modality, with important temporal implications.
Intention is a crucial bridge to prediction. and the change from intention to prediction occurs
via inference. That is, both the expression of intentions (usually by the speaker) and the
offering of predictions are commonly occurring interactive functions that are inferred from
what is said. Thus, it is these inferences that create the meaning of future (Bybee et al.
Both -keyss- and -ulkes i- have these properties, intention and inference or
prediction with future time reference. Having taken over the old form -(u)li-, which had been
a future marker covering general future properties, the two usually represent intention when
they apply to the fist person (or the second) subject, and, otherwise, represent the speaker's
inference or prediction. Similarly, taking Old Spanish as an example, Bybee et al. (1994:
264) say that future expresses intention of a fist person subject. and that, especially with
regard to a third person, a statement of intention implies a prediction. I assume that the path
of the development of -keyss-and -ul kes i- is similar to one of the possible paths to future
given by Bybee et al. ( 1994: 263).
Figure 2: Paths to Development to Future
I assume that the original meaning of -keyss- was related to the use of 'obligation or
predestination', since it was derived from the causative suffix -key plus ha-yrs-, which
corresponds to the present past form of ha- 'do' (Huh 1987:175). Similarly. -ul kes i- is a
combination of an adnominal form -(u)l plus kes 'thing' and the copula i 'be'. Literally,
-ul kes means 'thing(s) to do' or 'thing(s) to be done'.
In terms of category, -ul kes i- has begun playing a role as a simple future tense,
since it represents a more objective prediction?' On the other hand. -keyss- is a future with
episternic modality.'" -Keyss- usually expresses the speaker's intention when it co-occurs
with a fust (or second) person subject, whereas when it co-occurs with a third person
subject, it usually expresses the speaker's inference based on reasons or causes. -Keyssdoes not represent a simply groundless presumption, conjecture, or possibility. -Keyss- has
future time reference without future time adverbids and has anoler significant function,
relative future tense, in combination with -te-, as in (71).
" In spoken Korean. -(u)l kes ii-has turned tiom a p a i p h d form into a bound form -(u)lkke-.
' B y bee et al. (1994279) suggest that there are four semantic stages f a futures:
stage I: Futures with the agent-orienteduses of obligation, desire, and ability
stage 2: Futures with the later agent-orienteduses of inrention, mot possibility, srnd the
specific use of immediate future
stage 3: [grammatical morphemes] with simple future as their only use
stage 4: Futures with epistemic, speaker-orientedand subrdhted uses
'(Yesterday) (I inferred that) John was leaving soon.'
This sentence means that the speaker i n f e d that John's leaving would take place after the
reference point in the past.
Therefore, -keyss- is primarily an anaphoric future tense marker, and secondarily a
modal marker. In a sense, it is a mixture of tense and modality, which means a future tense
with episternic modality. From the viewpoint of modality. -keyss- is a more situationoriented modal marker. Thus, it is placed closer to the verb stem than the markers of
speaker-oriented modality. On the other hand. it can be placed farther from the stem of the
verb than the situation-oriented tense markers such as -as-, since it has the property of
episternic modality. -Ulkes i- is a simple future tense marker based on the speaker's
2.3.3 Two-Tiered Tense Structure
In the syntagrnatic structure of verbal inflection. Korean has two levels, the situationoriented level and the speaker-addressee-orienkd level, as discussed in (12.1.1. In the same
way. if -re- is regarded as a tense marker' Korean has two types of tense, speaker-addresseeoriented tense and situation-oriented tense. It follows that the speaker-oriented tenses are
deictic tenses. On the other hand, situation-oriented tenses in Korean show temporal
The presence of -te- makes a deictic past time relation first, with respect to which
three different situation times are relative-a
situation is simultaneous with, before, and after
its past-shifted deictic point (reference point). In the absence of -te-, the situation-oriented
tenses, @/-nun-, -ess-, and -kryss-, have deictic relations, which means that theu reference
point is the speech time. In other words, when -re- docs not appear, Korean has three simple
tenses, present, past, and future, but when -te- does appear, those three tenses become
relative present, past, and future.
Thus, I claim that tense markers, -81-nun-, -em-,and -keyss-, are basically
anaphoric tense markers that can have deictic relations at any time when they cannot find an
anaphoric anchoring point. This property can also explain their relativity in subordinate
clauses, where they can have the time of the situation of the matrix clause as a new reference
point. Meanwhile, -te- has a pure deictic time relation in Korean.
Therefore, Korean tense has a two-tiered structure that is composed of the deictic
time relation and the anaphoric relation. TE tense has the time relations (R-S) instead of
(E-S) because it refers not to a situation time, but to a past-shifted reference point, that is,
the speaker's shifted viewpoint. The other tenses are called anaphoric present, anaphoric
past, and anaphoric future tense. I summarize the Korean tense system as follows:
-ul kes i-:
[email protected]/-nun-:
(R, E)
deictic past
deictic future
anaphoric present
anaphoric past
anaphoric future
Here the difference between TE tense and simple future tenses -ulkes i- is that while the
simple future refers to the time of situation with respect to the deictic point (S-E), TE tense
refers to the reference point not to situation time.This is a distinctive characteristic of
smer-addressee-oriented tense. Unlike TE tense, simple deictic tenses in languages like
English usually have time relations (S,E), (E-S), and (S-E) for their basic meanings. That is
because the presence of -re- necessarily requires another relative tense to follow, whereas the
simple tenses do not have that requirement, even though they can optionally be followed by
another relative tense. Thus, TE tense is a different type of tense than previously documented
in the languages of the world.
This chapter deals with a number of Korean verbal inflectional suffixes. Ln
organizing verbal inflection, I fvst suggest that the Korean system has two levels, a
situation-oriented level and a speaker-addressee-oriented level. The two major aspect
markers -c iss- and -ko iss-, the honorific -(u)si-,and the tense markers @/-nun-,-as-,
-ess-ess-,and -ul kes i- fall under the situation-oriented level. The honorific -(su)p-, the
tense marker -te-, and dl the sententid endings fall under the speaker-addressee-oriented
level. The suffix -keyss-,an epistemic modality marker with future time reference, lies in
Second, using the three features, [static], [agentive], and [telic], I classified the
Korean predicates into three groups, States, Processes, and Activities. Then, using the
feature [agentive], I divided states into two subgroups, State I and State 11, and processes
into two subgroups, Process I and Process 11. as seen in Table 5. Further, I showed that
these verb types are closely related to the Korean aspect markers. The marker -ko iss-, which
I call progressive, cannot apply to State I and R. and -u iss-. which I call nsultative, is
compatible with Process I only. On the other hand, other tense markers do not usually show
this kind of restriction.
Finally, I propose two distinctive types of tense, situation-orientedtense and
speaker-addressee-orientedtense. -Te-is a speaker-addressee-orientedtense marker
indicating that the reference point is prior to the speech point. I demonstrated that this
speaker-addressee-orientd property fully accounts for the constraints on TE tense. On the
other hand, -as- is a situation-oriented tense marker. It indicates that the situation time is
prior to the reference point, and can imply a meaning like that of the English present perfect
depending on the types of verbs or the contexts. The difference between -ess- and the
duplicated form -ess-ess-,both of which indicate that the situation time is prior to the
reference time, is that the latter has an implicational restriction of no current relevance, but
the former has no such restriction. Telic verbs show this characteristic especially strongly.
Another related characteristic of telic verbs is that they have a tendency to avoid the present
tense denoting an ongoing event and prefer to locate their event in immediate future.
suggesting that situation (verb) types can affect time reference.
In sum, along with the aspect markers such as progressive -ku iss- and resultative
-e iss-, Korean has six tense markers, -te-, @/-nun-,-em, -ess-ess-.-keyss-,and -ul kes i-.
The aspect markers are more closely related to the lexical properties of the verbs, uktio~uart.
The representation of those aspects is placed closer to the stem of the verb, whereas tense is
placed farther than aspect and, accordingly, is less influenced by the lexical meaning of the
verb. In the same fashion, the Korean situation-oriented suffixes are closer to the verb stem,
whereas the speaker-oriented suffixes are farther from the verb stem. In terms of the concept
of deictic and anaphoric tense, -re- and -ul krs i- are deictic past and future tenses. while
@/-nun-, a s - , and -keyss- are anaphoric present, past, and future tense.
Korean in Cross-linguistic Perspective
In a recent work, Cinque (1999) gives an analysis of functional morphemes as
functional heads with adverbs serving as the specifiers of the corresponding functional
heads. His analysis suggests further evidence that -re- is speaker-oriented. According to
Cirque (1999), morphemes encoding different types of functional notions such as mood,
tense, aspect, and voice, have a rigidly fixed order that follows a cross-linguistically
invariant hierarchy. These morphemes each have a comsponding matching adverb in the
hierarchy. I give a portion of Cinque's (1999:106) Universal Hierarchy of Clausal
Functional Projections in (73); an element higher on the list appears outside an element lower
on the list:
In Korean, the morpheme -re- is farther from the verb stem than the epistemic
modality morpheme -&cyss-,which is farther from the verb stem than situation-oriented
tense morphemes, as seen in this chapter. This means that -re- is higher in the hierarchy than
-keyss-, which is again higher in the hierarchy than the situation-oriented tense morphemes,
according to Cinque's ranking. In other words, TE tense is a tense that should go in a
position higher than the position of epistemic modality or of simple tenses in other
languages. In this respect, TE tense should be treated as a different tense that does not denote
a situation time, although it is the same as a simple tense in that both are deictic tense. If my
analysis of -te- is correct, then an additional position refemng to speaker-oriented tense
should be added to Cinque's hierarchy. This position would appear somewhere before
probably and afterfrankly, since the suffix -re- is followed by mood suffixes marking
speech acts (see example (7 1) above).
Cinque (1999), in fact, regards the Korean suffix -te- as an evidential mood marker
following H.-M.Sohn (1 994), who analyzes it as a retrospective mood marker. This
analysis predicts the correct ordering of the affixes. However, this suggestion is problematic
because -re- Iach the usual properties of an evidential. First, direct evidentials are usually the
unmarked default and other indirect evidentials arc marked. The evidential aspect of the
meaning of -tenwould suggest that it is a direct evidential, one with no corresponding
indirect form. Second. the usual meaning of direct evidentials 'I seelwitness*,does not
necessarily hold in TE tense. Rather, the SenknCes without -re- express more evident
situations, as mentioned before.
Perhaps further research on Korean tense, aspect, and mood suffixes, and on their
corresponding adverbs will help to clarify the exact nature of -re-. In the interim, the fact that
-re- is higher than -keyss-,which is again higher than the situation-oriented tense morphemes
on Cinque's hierarchy, lends support to my claim that TE tense is a speaker-addressee-
oriented tense.
In this chapter I address the relationship between the semantics of tense and syntactic
structure and suggest that each tense has a basic temporal structure corresponding to its basic
meaning and that the basic meaning of a tense can be affected by its hierarchical position. In
order to relate the concept of deictic and anaphoric tense suggested in the previous chapters
to a structural notion. I follow the predicative theory of tense (Zagonit 1990.1995, Stowell
1996). in which tense is like a predicate that takes two time denoting arguments, a subject-
like external argument and an object-like internal argument In this thesis. I adopt Stowell's
time-denoting referential category ZP (Zeit Phrase) to represent the temporal points.
In 63.1.1 briefly sketch syntactic analyses under the predicative theory of tense. In
$3.2,1 provide a two-tiered tense structure using the notion of deictic and anaphoric tense. I
suggest that a finite clause can have two tense projections, a deictic tense projection and an
anaphoric tense projection. In $3.3. I show that this structure accounts for the two types of
Korean tenses, spe&er-addressee-oriented tense and situation-oriented tense. and thus a
finite clause can have two tense projections. 93.4 argues that perfect tense is an anaphoric
tenso-denoting (E-R)-that
requires another deictic tense providing a reference point. In
93.5. I show that the Rule of the Sequence of Tenses in English is a syntactic rule that
establishes an anaphoric link in a finite clause and, thus, languages like Korean that do not
utilize the rule have the anaphoric link in a whole sentence, not in a clause. A revised
inventory of possible tenses is given in 83.6.
3. I
The Predicative Theory of Tense
The relationship betweem tense and nominative case assignment has been one of the
major topics in generative grammar.However, few syntactic analyses of tense have dealt
with the interaction between sentence structure and the interpretation of tense. Bouchard
( l984:89) claimed that tense has hierarchical structure and that the tense structures are
projected onto syntactic structures and can, hence, be read off these syntactic structures.
Bouchard (1984: 108) does not provide a clear structure of the tense projection, but he
suggests that tense structures are projected onto representations that have hierarchical
organization with a minimum of two levels and with a dominance relation between two
levels. Another syntactic approach is E n ~ ' s(1987) Tense Anchoring. Enq assumes that tense
is like a referential expression and bears an index, and, thus, is subject to conditions like
those of binding theory-Anchoring
Conditions, which serve for tense interpretations. In
Eng's analysis, the role of Comp in tense is not clear, since Comp optionally takes a
temporal index.
Pollock's (1989) 'exploded hfl hypothesis' provides inflectional categories with a
hierarchical structure. Giorgi and Pianesi (199 1, 1997) make use of this viewpoint to assign
tense its own projection in the syntactic structure. Adopting the referential approach to tense,
they claim that tense has two time relations, TI and T2, which correspond to SR and RE
relations respectively. They provide the following tense structure based on Latin and Italian
(Giorgi and Pianesi 1997:38).
Here the two temporal projections, T1 and T2, lexicalize the tense relations, SR and RE,
and, thus. the motivation for two levels of tense is purely based on Hornstein (1990). Their
hypothesis is that TI and T2 are lexical items requiring a predicate to assign a T(tempora1)role to satisfi the Tcriterion and that while T2 discharges a T-role on the 'real' verb (the
lexical verb), T1 needs an auxiliary verb. Thus, their lexical hypothesis of tense does not
allow a null form tense as a null head. For simultaneous relations. (S,R) or (R,E) (e.g.
present tense), there is neither a morpheme lexicalizing tense nor the projection of the
corresponding category. However, the requirement of an auxiliary verb for the T-criterion is
problematic with languages like Korean, in which both two types of tense are represented
not by peripheral forms but by bounded suffixes without the aid of a copula or an auxiliary
Using the relational and referential properties of tense, Zagona (1 990. 1995) has
introduced the predicative theory of tense, in which tense is considered to be a lexical
predicate that takes an external and an internal argument. The temporal arguments analogous
to nominal arguments constitute a temporal functional complex. or the Temporal Argument
Structure (TAS) of a clause (Zagona 1995399).
a. Marysang:
Tense takes an external argument Arg0 construed as speech time and an internal argument
VPn construed as event time. Zagona (1995:408) suggests that compound tenses like perfect
tense are headed by a ditransitive tense analogous to standard diiransitives in a manner
proposed in Larson (1988). According to Zagona, construal of the temporal argument
follows binding theory, which determines coreference and disjoint reference, and the
hierarchical determination of precedence."*
42 Zagona (1995:404) pmpses hat precedence may be determind on the basis of stmctural
hierarchy, that is, a temporal expression that is tower in structure will be consmred as preceding any higher
Following Zagona's predicative theory, Stowell (1995, 1996) suggests that the
semantics of TENSE predicates, PRESENT, PAST, and will, are 'simultaneous with' (or
'overlaps'), 'before', and 'after' respectively, and establish a temporal ordering relation
between the two temporal arguments, an internal and an external argument. In addition, he
posits a functional category ZP (Zeit-Phrase) that serves as the time-denoting internal and
external argument, that is, the event-time ZP and the reference time ZP.Stowell (1Y96:28O)
posits that ZP is a referential category analogous to DP, and the structural relation of ZP to
VP is analogous to the relation that DP bears to NP.Hence sentence (75a) has the structure
a. John hit the ball.
- -
John hlt the ball
Here, the extemal argument ZP of T is the reference time denoting the speech time, and the
internal argument ZP denotes the event time. PAST itself establishes an ordering between
these two times, construed as 'the speech time is after a time ZPi at which John hit the ball'.
Stowell says that the extemal argument has no fixed indexical denotation, i.e. no
necessary connection to the denotation of speech time. It simply refers to a time relative to
referent. Thus. that LF movement yields a configurationid difference between past rurd future clauses at LF,
and the following sentence with future reference has the LF given in (b):
which the event time ZP is ordered. In main clauses, it happens that the reference time ZP
denotes the speech time, but in subordinate clauses, it typically denotes the event time of the
immediately higher clause. Thus, the null external argument of tense (the Reference time ZP)
is a temporal analog of PRO, and its denotation is fixed by Control Theory (Stowell
From the deictic and the relational component of the meaning of indexical elements
(Nunberg 1993), it follows that tense has the speech time as a given deictic center, as well as
another relational temporal point that refers to situation time or reference time. As a predicate
has only one subject (the Extended Projection Principle), a tense always has an external,
subject-like, argument and an internal, complement-like, argument. In this paper, I will
adopt Stowell's predicative theory of tense with two temporal argument ZPs.
Regarding the semantics of tense, I claim that every tense has an inherent meaning.
That is, whether it has a deictic or an anaphoric (absolute or relative) relation is lexically
determined in terms of the basic concepts I mentioned above. Thus, the inherent meaning of
a tense determines its external argument. This means that if a given tense is inherently
deictic, it has the speech time as its external argument, but if a tense is anaphoric it can have a
time point other than the speech time a its extemal argument. Further, I assume that this basic
concept can be changed under certain circumstances, in some languages, for example, due to
hierarchical positions in temporal structure, the presence of time adverbials, or some
pragmatic contexr
Before we map temporal representations onto the structure, we should examine the
basic defmition of a tense morpheme, i.e. whether it is deictic or anaphoric, and,
furthermore, under what conditions a deictic tense can become an anaphorir:tense, or vice
The Structure of Deictic and Anaphoric Tense
Using the concept of deictic tense and anaphoric tense, I propose that the temporal
phrase can be either the projection of a deictic time relation or the projection of an anaphoric
time relation. I call them @)TP and ATP respectively. Following Pollock's (1989) split Infl
hypothesis, we can further split TP into the projection of @)T, (D)TP, and that of AT, ATP,
differing in the feature [fanaphoric]. Both (D)TP and ATP are optional. The basic structure
of TP is as follows:J3
to T
(SR) Z
(RE) Z
* to: S, the point of speech
* ti, tj...: Other time relations than S
The external argument ZP of (deictic) TP always refers to the Speech point (lo), whereas the
external argument ZP of ATP is anaphoric, since it is bound to the internal argument of the
higher TP,that is. both are coindexed (with ti). While the internal argument ZP of ATP takes
There is a possibility of more chan two knsr projections. According to Bouchard (1984:106). the
pas& surcompos&, where a gmmiltical verb is emM&d under another grammaticJ verb as in (ia), has an
extra R and it has the following structure in (ib):
Level I:
S ,R
Level 11:
Level III:
According to Vickner (1985:97), the futm perfect of past in English, as in the subordinate chuse of
(a), has the following ternpod representation:
a. She promised in November that they would have received her letter by rhe f i t day of the term.
b. (R1 3 ) ( - 1 3 2 ) ( U W
VP as its complement, that of (D)TP,optionally or obligatorily, takes ATP as its
complement, In absence of ATP, it takes VP as its complement. I will ignore the presence of
VP in TP or ATP, since it is dependent on whether the language in question makes use of a
copula or an auxiliary verb for a tense or agreement expression.
However. one problem with the structure of tense is that in the case of a deictic or
anaphoric present tense, the tense forms are not usually realized morphosyntactically. Thus.
whether we stipulate these null forms or not is a problematic issue. According to Georgi and
Pianesi (1997), tense is a lexical category and in case it is not morphologically realized, there
is neither a null form nor the projection of the corresponding category, as mentioned above.
However, I assume that tense is not a purely lexical category, since the T-role that tense
assigns in predicate theory is not the same as the theta-role that a verb assigns, even though
tenses behave like predicates in some ways. Hence I will allow null forms if they are needed.
since I assume that the constitution of the null form projections is also different from tense to
tense and from language to language.
The structure of Korean Tenses
Cn this section, I will show the structure of the interpretation of Korean speaker-
addressee-oriented tenses and situation-oriented tenses, using the deictic tense and anaphoric
tense structure given in (57). As revealed in the previous chapter, the speaker-addresseeoriented tense -te- does not refer to situation time and its presence always requires one of the
situation-oriented tenses, since it serves only to shift the deictic point to the past On the
other hand, the situation-oriented tenses refer to the situation time directly.
Consider the following examples:
a. John-i
'John goes (or is going).'
b. John-i
'John went (or has gone).'
c. John-i
ka-keyss- ta.
'(1 infer that) John will go.'
These situation-oriented tense markers. @/-nun-, -as-,and -kryss- have independent
characteristics as particles of temporal expression. even though they are basically anaphoric
tenses. Thus, sentences (78a) and (78b) would have the structure in (79)?
In absence of a higher deictic tense, the external argument ZPs of ATs refer to the speech
* According to SeUs (1995) and Cho and SeUs (1995). all the Korean nominal and verbal suffixes
are lexical suffixes not phrasd ones, and hence the tense morphemes cannot be heads of hnctiod categories.
On the other hand, in his review of Cho and SeUs (1995). Lapoink (1946) says that at least conjunctive
nominal suffixes, the suffmes of tense and mood, and some complementizers are phrasal suffues. while the
honorific suffix -(u)si- and some nomind post-suffies are lexical. R e w g the agglutinating of the v&
suffues, Cinque (199958) says chat the bound forms undergo swcessive head casings to build up a word. I
will not atdress these issues here. I only fmus on the structure of tmpaal intapelldon, whether it is an LF
structure or a cmcepua) structufe.
time and with respect to these external arguments, b. ATs have temporal relations. This
means that anaphoric tense becomes automatically deictic with no higher tense within a
simple sentence (thus, E-s).'" In this respect, the speech time is a default anchoring point
for any tense, whether it is deictic or anaphoric. In the present tense, the internal argument of
(A)T has a zero relation to the external argument (to),as in (79a). Thus, the Korean
situation-oriented tenses basically have anaphoric relations (RE relations), but can also have
deictic relations (SE relations).
Now consider the example sentences with the speaker-addressee-orientedtense
marker -te-.
a. John-i
'(1 perceived that) John was going.'
b. John-i
ka-ess- te-la.
'(I perceived that) John had gone.'
c. John-i
'(I inferred then that) John would go.'
As opposed to the situation-oriented tenses, the speaker-addnssee-orienvdtenses require an
anaphoric tense in order to refer to situation time. Thus, the sentences in (80) would have the
structures in (81).
'' As Stowell (1996) says, this extemal argument is similar to PRO, since PRO has an ubiouy
interpretation as well as an suraphotic interptetation.
Jo n-i
In (8 l), the Ts have the speech point as their external argument ZPs, and the external
argument ZPs of the ATPs are bound to the internal argument ZPs of the Ts. TE tense has a
deictic past relation, and under this tense (80a) and (80b) show an anaphoric present and an
anaphonc past relation, respectively. Here, -re- does not take a copula or an auxiliary verb to
realize its value, as in Indo-European languages. According to Giorgi and Pianesi (1997),
auxiliary verbs are required for Tense 1 because every tense must have a VP complement, in
order to assign a T-role? However. -re- is a bound particle, which itself is neither a copula
nor an auxiliary.
The reason why (80a) represents a situation that is past ongoing (or imperfective,
since it can have a habitual meaning) is that the Korean anaphoric present can represent an
ongoing situation. As mentioned before, the other situations described in (80b) and (80c)do
not have this ongoing meaning, and (80b) implies rather a perfective situation. This means
that TE tense is aspectually neutral and refers only to the past-shifted viewpoint of the
speaker. Thus, it has special meaning, unlike other simple deictic tenses.
Therefore. we can make the following formula of Korean tense application in simple
Tense Application in the Simple sentence:
i) If there is -re-, R of E precedes S (R-S);
Otherwise, R is simultaneous with S (R,S).
ii) If there is -en-,E precedes R (E-R);
Otherwise, E is simultaneous with or follows R (R,Eor R-E).
Hen, the meaning of 'simultaneous' includes an inclusive or a habitual relation. This is a
general interpretation of Korean tense application in simple sentences and, I assume, this
interpretation can be modified in complex sentences, which will be discussed more in 53.5.
a Giagi and Pionesi (1991.1997) analyze the tense system in Italian and Latin into two projections
of T1 and T2, and the tense morphemes of the former represent the relations between S and R while those of
the latter represent those between R and E. According UJthem. T(tempora1)-role is meant to caplure the
observation thd T must have a VP complement. and T1 and 12 are kxical categories that assign a T-role and
are subject to the following T-criterion (Giorgi and P h e s i 1997:29):
Every T-role must be uniquely assigned to an e v m position, and every event
position can receive at most one T-role.
They say that a T-role, analogously to a theta-role, is a formal device that permits the identification of the
event argument ofa verb, with an empty argument p b in the T-grid of Ihe temporal predicate. assigning it
a specific ternpod interpretation. Thus, their concept of T-roledoes not correspond to that of the pedimtive
theory of tense.
The Perfect Tense
Perfect tenses in Indo-European languages have k e n controversial in t e r n of their
grammatical status. They are similar since they have the same origin historically. but
contemporarily they show slightly different semantic properties. However. one thing
common among them is anteriority (Bybee et d. 1994), which means 'relative pastness'.
Thus, when the reference point of perfect tenses is the same as the speech time. theu
meaning and function are almost the same as those of the deictic past tense.
Ln terms of time reference. simple tense and perfect tense are the same when perfect
tense takes the speech time as its reference point. Thus, the ways in which these two tenses
are adopted and used in different languages an various. In English, the present perfect is
used mainly for past situations with cumnt relevance, while the simple past is used for past
situations without current relevance. In French and German, the present perfect. is almost the
same as the simple past?' In Portuguese. the present perfect is used for a continuing past
habit: otherwise, the simple past is used. In some Romance languages. such as Spanish and
Limouzi, an Occitanian dialect, the present perfect is used for situations that hold today
without any necessary additional meaning of current relevance, serving to denote as recent
past (Comrie 1985:85). Thus, in order to account for these various uses of the present
perfect, what is needed is not different temporal representations but different aspectual or
semantic features. That means that for the English perfect, its temporal composition 'E-R'
has the features, [+current relevance]. In the case of the French perfect. the 'E-R' has no
such feature restrictions.
Concerning the morphological form of the English perfexx, I assume that 'the bare
infinitive form huve plus past participle' is perfect tense since the English perfect has a
" In fact. the French present p e r k t has replaced the simple pau form. and now the simple past is
an obsolete form (Smith 1997). It is usually said that ihe German perfect tense is the normal form for past
reference, and the simple past is a stylistic variant. However. Klein (1994:128) says that in some contexts the
German perfect tense has the function of the English perfect tense.
peripheral expression, not just one bound suffk4*Lf the perfect tense is represented by a
past participle as in several works. including Bouchard (1987), the past participle in a perfect
construction should be distinguished from one in a passive constructions that has no
temporal property. In fact, a sentence like John has been forgotten by them has perfect tense
and a passive construction at the same time. In addition, in infinitive or participial
constructions, the presence of the auxiliary verb have cannot be accounted for, since have
does not take a tense form of its own. Thus, the relative pastness of the bare infinitive have
plus past participle can account for the pluperfect, the future perfect, and the perfeft tense in
infinitives and panifiple constructions.
The perfect (anterior)tense is basically an anaphoric: tense, which denotes only an
anterior relation to a reference point (E-R). On the other hand, the simple past tense is
basically a deictic tense that denotes a deictic past relation to the speech point (E-S). In the
present perfect, the perfect tense takes the deictic present and hence the auxiliary have is
realized as a present tense form. We can compare the present perfect tense and the simple
past tense as follows:
a. John left.
(E-S) Z
John leave
* Another way m s w n t for this is hat the perfect tense is represented by the auxiliary verb have
and this have must take a past participle in its complement VP. However, h i s account can be problematic
when b e is deleted rrs in the participial construction.
a. John has left.
b T
John has left
In (83), the extemal argument ZP of T refers to the speech time,and thus, the internal
argument has a past relation. In (84). the higher deictic T has a zero relation (a simultaneous
relation) and has no temporal movement. Hence. the external argument ZP of the AT refers
to the same speech time and the AT has a past relation. As a result, the temporal composition
of the present perfect is (S,R)plus (E-R).
We can find some evidence for the anaphoric property of perfect tense from its
adverbial restrictions on adverbials. Resent perfect is unacceptable with past time adverbials.
unlike future or past perfect:
*Chris has left York yesterdayllast yearhome ten years ago.
Klein (1992) calls this the 'present perfect puzzle*. He (1992546) accounts for this
restriction with a constraint on definiteness, under which an utterance avoids two distinctive
definite time references. Thus he says that present perfect cannot have a definite time
reference since the speech point is a d e f ~ t time.
However, we see that the following examples are acceptable even though the adverbs
refer to past time.
a. Chris has been in Pontefract before.
b. Chris has just left.
c. John has left the house at five o'clock.
(Klein i 99Z:W)
(Shaer 1996:120)
The problem is not past time denoting adverbials but whether the adverbs an dektic or
nondeictic, as Shaer (1996) also notes. I propose that the restriction has something to do
with anaphoric and deictic properties of tense. Future perfect and past perfect have a
distinctive deictic tense relation as well as anaphoric perfect tense and hence take a deictic
time reference as well as a time point referred to by perfect. Crucially, the two time points are
related to each other in some way and this temporal relationship makes one definite and the
other less definite or indefinite, since deictic time reference is more definite than maphoric
reference. Present perfect does not yield a distinctive deictic time reference other than the
speech point and hence takes non-deictic time adverbials. However, this restriction is a
preference not a constraint. In other words, although two time references of adverbs are
deictic and defmite, they can appear together in a sentence if they can have a temporal
relationship implied in a given context. Besides, I assume that the features that present
perfect has in different languages also decide the acceptability of time adverbials.
The anaphoric property of perfat can explain the tense of participle and infinitive
constructions. In other words, the presence of anaphoric tense morphemes (have plus 'past
participle' in English) represents only an 'E-R' relation, whether in finite or non-finite
In connection with perfect tense. another significant point is that simple deictic tenses
have two functions. That is, when simple tenses have no immediately following tense such
as anaphoric tense, they normally relate to the situation time (SE relation), whereas when
they have an immediately following tense, they denote a reference point (a shifteddeiftic
center, thus, SR relation) like the Korean speaker-addressee-oriented tense. As mentioned
before, the difference is that while simple deictic tenses have either the SE relation or the SR
relation, Korean TE tense has only the SR relation.
The Rule of Sequence of Tenses in English
in this section, I will consider the problem of sequence of tenses in English,
comparing English with Korean in terms of the tense structure of complement clauses. I will
show that the Rule of Sequence of Tenses is a syntactic mechanism that establishes an
anaphoric link in a finite clause, in order to make it easy to track down the temporal
antecedent (Chung to
In many languages, such as Russian, Korean, and Japanese, a subordinate clause
has a temporal relation relative to the situation time of the matrix clause. English shows this
property in complement clauses.
a. John will say that Mary left/has left.
b. John will say that Mary will leave.
c. John will say that Mary is happy. (Giorgi and Pianesi 1997)
The subordinate tenses in (87)- present perfeft (or past), future, and present, are interpreted
as anterior (87a), posterior (87b), and simultaneous (87c), with respect to the time of
saying, which is in the future.
However, English takes past tense morphemes in the complement clause when the
main clause has a past tense, as in (88), unlike Korean, Japanese, or Russian.
a. John said that Mary would leave.
b. John said that Mary had left.
* Shaer (1998) also claims that the S O T nrle is a temporal tracking device, which makes temporal
relations transparent.
c. John said that Mary left.
d. John said that Mary was sick.
Here, the tense interpretation is that Mary's leaving is after John's saying in (Ma) and before
in (88b), which mans that the situation time of the complement clause is relative to the past
situation time of the matrix clause, not to the speech time. On the other hand, the
complement clauses in (88c) and (88d) are ambiguous. Their situation times are past-shifted
from or simultaneous with those of the matrix
a. John-i
'John said that Miuy was sick.'
clause^.'^ Now consider the Korean data."
aphu-0-ta- ko
be sick-PRES-DEC-COW
Mary- ka
May-NOM be sick-ESS-DEC-COW
'John said that Mary had been sick.'
'John said that Mary was leaving.'
a'. John-i
b. John-i
Mimy scholm. including Stowell, say that a past eventive verb in the complement clause under
past tense has only r pau-shifted reading. However. some native speakers say that in ihe sentence like 'John
said thut Mary 1& then.' the dverb then can refer to both times. the time of John's saying and that of Mary's
laving. According to Giorgi and Pianesi (1997:286-7). in British English, a back-shifted meaning is blocked
mi only the simultaneous meaning is allowed when the matrix verb is believe, whether the complement verb
is static or not.
For non-static verbs, the English present tense usually does not imply an ongoing event but a
slightly bounded one at the speech time, which is different from the popeny of present tenses in languages
like Korean, where the pesent tense means precisely an ongoing event. This fact is related to the back-shifted
meaning of p t tense when it is embedded under pist tense. h fact, the past tense of complements is a reflect
of simple present tense because it denotes 'present in the past'. That is why, in French or Italian, the
complement clauses make use of imperfect tense, since their present tense means an ongoing event.
In fact, TE tense is used commonly in ma& clauses. For the sake of convenience. I use -enbe.
c. John-i
'John said that Mary had left,'
ttena-ul kes i-ta-ko
d. John-i
'John said that Mary would leave.'
The complement clauses in (Wa, b) take present forms, whereas the complement ciauses in
(88c, d) take past forms when their situation time is simultaneous with those of the matrix
clauses. Only when its situation time is anterior to that of the matrix clause, as in (89a8,c),
does the complement clause take the past form. The complement clause in (89d) also takes
the future form, unlike the complement clause in (88a), where the verb of the complement
clause represents 'future in the past'.
This relative tense realization in complement clauses seems to have something to do
with relative tenses in Korean, but, in fict, deictic tenses also serve as relative tenses in
complement clauses. In (88d). the simple deictic future form -ul &us i-, which does not
exhibit temporal relativity in simple sentences, denotes 'future in the past' here. Moreover,
the speaker-adkessee-oriented tense form -re- does not have a deictic time relation in
complement clauses.
'John said that he had perceived Mary leaving.'
In (90),the deictic center of TE tense is past-shifted not from the speech time but from the
time of John's saying (the situation time of the matrix clause), and hence TE tense denotes
'past in the past' here.
In Chung (to appear), I assume that, cross-linguistically. subordinate clauses show
temporal dependency on the matrix clause, since tense interpretation is closely related to
hierarchical structure. I suggest that the temporal dependence interpretation is the default
interpretation for complement clauses. However, how this temporal dependency in the
interpretation is formalized can vary from language to language? The Sequence-of-Tenses
Rule (henceforth SOT) is a formal arrangement of the tenses of sequential clauses in a
sentence. Korean does not have that mechanism. English. in contrast. does make use of the
SOT rule and it is defied as follows (Chung to appear):
The Rule of Sequence of Tenses:
where a,p are finite clauses, and a is in the past tense.
i) copy the TP of a into P if and only if the external argument of the tense of P i s
linked to the internal argument of the tense of a,and
ii) the external argument of ATP of P is linked to the internal argument of the
higher tense in B.
The SOT rule copies the deictic tense projection of the main clause, in order to give the
reference time of the subordinate tense an anaphoric link to the situation time of the main
clause within the same clause. Jn fact, tense in English can be divided into two domains. One
is a SOT domain where the main clause is in past tense, and the other is a non-SOT domain
where the main clause is in non-past. This asymmetry reflects the asymmetry of the
inflectional morphology of English tense between past forms and non-past forms.
Thus the sentences in (88c), represented in (92), and (89c), represented in (93),
would show the following structural difference.
According to C o d (1985:61). in l m h h Quechua main clause verbs receive absolute time
reference, while most s u b o cbuse
~ verbs receive relative time reference, but the suffixes for absolute and
relative tense are distinct.
A n
John V
V' ti
A A'
Mary-ka ttena-
In (92). the TP of the complement clause is copied from the main clause by the SOT rule.
Hence. the external argument ZP of the ATP is directly linked to the intemal ZP of the
adjoining higher TP in the same clause. and the ATP has a past relation. Inother words. the
external argument is Linked to an antecedent via the copied TP.On the other hand. in (93)the
external argument ZP is Linked to the internal argument of the matrix tense itself.
The syntactic effect of the SOT rule is that anaphoric Linking is possible within one
finite clause, as I suggest in Chung (to appear). In other words, the external argument of
ATP and its antecedent are in the same clause, paralleling nominal anaphors. Thus, in case
the rule applies, the domain of the anaphoric link is a finite clause. In case the rule does not
apply, the domain is a whole sentence. as illustrated in Korean or the non-SOT domain in
~nglish." The optional application of the SOT rule accounts for the ambiguity of (a&) and
One interesting point is that in Kacan the ; m a p h h caki 'self' is usually bound within a whole
sentence, even though it m be bound within a finite clause.
(88d) ?'
According to Contini-Morava (1983), the Swahili N A tense, which is a relative
simultaneous tense, can have its reference point in a previous sentence containing an overt
temporal marker. But also it can have its reference point in discourse. which does not have a
specific temporal form. Thus, she claims that the role of inference is important in the
assignment of a reference point to a relative tense. and that the use of relative tense is not
fully subject to syntactic rules, and can be explained by a combination of semantic and
pragmatic factors. In this respect, I assume that there is parametric variation from language to
language. English is a more clause-oriented language. whereas Swahili is more discourseoriented. Languages like Korean are in-between: they are sentence-oriented.
Therefore, complement clauses have a temporal dependency cross-linguistically,and
even tenses that are basically deictic can be anaphoric due to hierarchical position. The SOT
rule is a syntactic rule that establishes an anaphoric link in a finite clause. At the same time. it
prevents the ambiguity between an independent reading and a dependent reading that exists
in non-SOT languages (Chung to appear).
An Inventory uf Possible Tenses
To summarize my position on deictic and anaphoric time relations, the combinations
of basic meaning yield the following possible tenses:
For the optional application of the SOT rule in a SOT domain and the relationship between the
SOT rule iuul a 'Double Access Rerding', refer to Chung (to appear). I assume that the atam why languages
like English have the SOT rule is that perfect tense or future tense are peripheral forms that make use of a
copula or an auxiliary, which can carry lheu own tenses. In Korean, all the tense funns am bounded particles
that have no copula or auxiliary verb to bear mother tense.
(R, E)
In simple sentences, Korean TE tense denotes (S, R) only, whereas the simple tenses in
English denote either SE relations or SR relations. even though they basically represat SE
relations. The Korean situation-oriented past tense and perfect tense denote (E-R), and the
corresponding null forms and Swahili NA tense are (R,E). The Latin future participle -urw
denotes the temporal relation (R-E),and also the future use of the English progressive form
exemplifies (R-E).
In sum, although tense systems and the characteristicsof tense can differ from
language to language, languages show similarities in tense interpretation and the way they
utilize deictic and anaphoric tense. Every tense has an inherent meaning. This basic meaning
can be modified by several factors: hierarchical position, the situation type of a verb, or
contextual elements.
The goal of this thesis has been to provide an analysis of some complex tense
phenomena in Korean, bringing in data from other languages where relevant The main
concern of this thesis has been the semantics and syntax of tense. that is, what the basic
denotation of a tense morpheme is and how the tense morpheme is interpreted in a sentence.
I have shown how the notion of deictic tense versus anaphoric tense can help answer these
questions. The fust finding is that every tense. whether it is deictic or anaphoric, has an
inherent denotation that determines its referential time points or intervals. The basic
denotation can be modified by the situation type of the verb. The starting point for this
perspective is an assumption that tense is a deixis that should be understood as a relational
is, tense is a relation between a deictic center and another time point-and
from this deictic relation an anaphoric relation can be established. The next step is to test this
claim against empirical evidence. Korean tense phenomena, as well as data from other
languages, show the need to distinguish two types of tense. The last step is to prove the
adequacy of the proposition of this thesis by giving a syntactic analysis of the two types of
tense. I have proposed a two-tiered syntactic structure, following the predicative theory of
tense. Under this proposal, I have accounted for the temporal dependency of complement
clauses on their matrix clauses with the syntactic definition of anaphoric tense.
In Chapter 1, I have considered deictic and anaphoric properties of tense as a
departure for this analysis, based on the different types of time adverbials and some
problematic tenses that are not accounted for by conventional definitions of tense. Second, I
have examined several analyses taking the Reichenbachian approach, in which tense is
represented as the composition of three time points-the
speech time, the event time, and the
reference time. I found these analyses mamd by the redundancy of event time in simple
tenses and the inconsistent use and definition of reference time due to its dual function.
Instead of reference time, Klein proposes 'topic time',the time for which the speaker wants
to make an assertion, but I found that this revision still does not handle problems associated
with the relationship between topic time and situation time. My argument is that the time that
the speaker refers to, the time for which the speaker makes an assertion, and the time at
which a situation is imagined or information is obtained by the speaker should all fall within
situation time. Thus, we can take the Reichenbachian reference point to be a perspective
point, which is a shifted secondary deictic center for anaphoric tense. I have suggested a
tentative typology of tense, making use of the notions of deictic and anaphoric tense.
h chapter 2, I have made some observations about Korean aspect, tense, and mood
and give them a unified account Addressing major controversial issues regarding Korean
tense, I have suggested further evidence for the necessity of a distinction between deictic
tense and anaphoric tense. First, I have revealed that Korean generally has two distinctive
levels of verbal suffixes, situation-oriented suffixes and speaker-addressee-orientedsuffixes,
and, accordingly, two distinctive types of tenses. Therefore. I have argued that, -te- is not a
mood or an aspect marker but a speaker-addressee-orientedtense marker, which has a pastshifted reference time. Thus, -te- differs from other tense markers, which I defined as
situation-oriented tense except -keys- (an epistemic future marker). I show that the reason
for my claim is that -re- can obviously take another time point:
tomorrow-TOP leave-KEYSS-TE- DEC
'Yesterday, (I inferred) John will probably leave tomorrow. '
Here -re- refers to some time point in the past (yesterday), and -keyss- refers to a probable
future situation. As seen in Chapter 2, the morpheme -te- is farther from the verb stem than
the epistemic modality morpheme -&uyss-, which is farther from the verb stem than situation-
oriented tense morphemes. In other words, -re- is higher than -keyss-, which is again higher
than the situation-oriented tense morphemes, in terms of Cinque's (1999) Hierarchy of
Functional Projections. In this respect, it is reasonable that TE tense beyond the situation
level does not denote a situation time.Thus, I have posited another type of deictic tense,
which denotes only the SR relations, as opposed to simple deictic tenses, which basically
denote the SE relations and secondly the SR when followed by an anaphoric tense. TE tense
and simple tense are both deictic. The difference is that TE tense is optional, but simple tense
is obligatory in terms of morphology. This finding leads to the possibility of two different
kinds of deictic tenses.
In Chapter 3.1 turn to the task of giving my semantic typology of tense a parallel
syntactic analysis. I have used structural notions to account for the cross-linguistic temporal
dependencies between matrix clauses and complement clauses by applying the temporal
arguments of the pndicative theory of tense to temporal primitives. What I have suggested
first is that, in syntactic terms, deictic tense takes an external argument denoting the speech
time and an internal argument denoting situation time or reference time, whereas anaphoric
tense takes an extemal argument denoting the reference time and an internal argument
denoting situation time. I have analyzed various perfect tenses in several languages,
including Korean -m-,as anaphoric tense. and have distinguished them by different
features. One significantcharacteristic of anaphoric tenses is that the external argument of an
anaphoric tense is linked to the internal argument of a deictic tense or a higher tense. Thus
my analysis gives a syntactic explanation for the Rule of Sequence of Tenses (SOT), using
the concept of domain of an anaphoric link. 1 have proposed that the SOT rule makes
anaphoric Linking possible within a finite clause, as below:
a. John said that Mary had left.
John V
to T
I / \
(E-S) Z
Mary leave
Here the external argument ZP of the ATP of the complement clause is directly linked to the
internal ZP of the adjoining TP in the same clause. As defined in Chapter 3, SOT is a
syntactic rule that copies the TP of the matrix clause into the complement clause in order for
the ATP of the complement clause to have an anaphoric Link in the same clause. On the other
hand, I have shown that complement clauses in Korean, which do not utilize this mle, have
only the ATP, which means that the anaphoric link is formed in a whole sentence, not in a
finite clause. My conclusion is that when the rule applies, the domain of the anaphoric link is
a finite clause. whereas when the rule does not apply, the domain is a whole sentence. In
conclusion, I give a revised typology of tense (94) by splitting deictic tenses into two
It is interesting to note that my findings regarding anaphoric tense parallel the
analysis of nominal anaphors. The SOT rule requires that both the external argument of ATP
and its antecedent appear in the same clause. In the same way, English nominal anaphors are
usually bound in a finite clause (97a), while Korean nominal anaphors can be bound within a
sentence rather than a clause (97b).
a. John said that Mary loves herself/*himself.
b. Cheiii-nun Yengij-ka
cakiij-lul salangha-nun-ta-ko
Cheli-MP Yengi-NOM self-ACC love-PRES-DEC-COW
'Cheli said that Yengi loves himself/ herself.'
say-ESS- DEC
Here caki, which is a reflexive in Korean. can be bound not only to the subject of the
complement clause, Yengi, but also to the topic (or subject) of the matrix clause. Cheli.
Moreover, caki prefers Chdi to Yengi as its binder (S.-Y. Kim 1993:495). It is possible that
the domains in which a nominal anaphor and an anaphoric tense are linked (or bound) to
their antecedents are similar in a given language. In connection with this, I suggest the
possibility of a typology of languages in terms of the domain of anaphoric elements, clauseoriented languages, sentence-oriented languages, and discourse-oriented languages (where
the anaphoric Link can be formed outside a sentence). Further research is needed in order to
see if the analysis proposed here is valid cross-linguistically.
In the course of this study, I have left several issues unresolved. One is the
relationship between tense and temporal adverbials. I do not discuss how temporal adverbs
affect tense in a sentence, whether time adverbs play a more active role than tense docs and
so overrule tense, or whether tense is underspecifid, as Shaer (1996) argues. My position
on these questions is that tense has a specified basic meaning. What makes the basic
denotation change is not usually the temporal adverbs, but rather other factors, such as
situation types or pragmatic matters, as in the historical present or the futurate. Thus, I
assume that the syntax cannot fully account for tense interpretation, though this topic needs
funher research. A second question is about the role of topic time adverbs and focus adverbs
in time reference, that is, whether tense and topic time adverbs have anaphoric time relations.
as Klein ( 1994) says. I give a negative answer to this for simple tenses (5 1.4.4). In simple
tenses, the time of topic adverbial is a specification of the situation time as a topic material. in
order to contrast with some other times. However, I have suggested that an anaphoric
relation is established in con~plextenses, such as deictic plus anaphoric tense, which have
two distinctive tense projections. The anaphoric relation results from the composition of the
two tenses when deictic one of the two potential time denoting adverbs is realized as topic. I
assume that this topicalization of the deictic time adverb can be accounted for by the tense
structure of my analysis, because, by the time of an anaphoric tense projection, the higher
deictic tense becomes a given information, i.e. a topic material. That is why deictic timedenoting adverbs are usually realized as a topic that appears sentence-initially,Again this
needs further research.
Korean is a language that has a long history. Modem Korean shows dynamics of old
tense and aspect markers and recently formed ones. The analysis of Korean tense in this
thesis has several implications. One implication is that Korean has a unique type of tense. the
speaker-addressee-oriented tense denoting (R-S) only. Thus this study shows that languages
can have this type of tense in addition to simple deictic tenses. Another implication is that
simple tenses can develop into speaker-addressee-oriented tenses. As a result, the situationoriented tense -ess-, which has become a tense, not a peripheral perfect (anterior) form,
functions as anaphoric tense. My study has not dealt with tense in relative clauses and
temporal adverbial clauses, which display some interesting tense phenomena. I reserve this
topic for further research.
The recognition of the difference between deictic tense and anaphoric tense allows for
a systematic treatment of tense phenomena in Korean and other languages. The analysis
using the distinction between deictic tense and anaphoric tense provides a unified account for
complex tense phenomena in Korean. In future research, I hope to use this analysis to
account for the interaction between tense and temporal adverbials.
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