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Expressing the SelfCultural Diversity and Cognitive Universals$
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Minyao Huang and Kasia M. Jaszczolt

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198786658

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198786658.001.0001

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Self-referring in Korean, with reference to Korean first-person markers

Self-referring in Korean, with reference to Korean first-person markers

(p.58) 4 Self-referring in Korean, with reference to Korean first-person markers
Expressing the Self

Hye-Kyung Lee

Oxford University Press

Lee’s chapter provides a corpus-based analysis of Korean first-person markers by examining the semantic and pragmatic features emerging from their dictionary definitions and their usages in discourse. Specifically, it is demonstrated that the use of the grammatical category of a pronoun does not quite fit the Korean data, because the exceptionally large number of the lexical items are highly specialized in their use. While the first-person markers have the primary function of referring to the speaker, self-referring via first-person markers in Korean is mediated by the speaker’s awareness of his perceived social role or public image, which is expected to conform to honorification norms. The author also argues that the situation with first-person reference in Korean supports the view that the indexical/non-indexical distinction standardly adopted in semantic theory ought to be reconsidered.

Keywords:   Korean, self-referring, first-person markers, indexicality, self-denigration, honorification, non-compositional meaning

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