From anti-specificity to anti-honorification: Conventional implicature of disjunction inia in Korean

Arum Kang, Suwon Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Kang, Arum and Suwon Yoon. 2020. From anti-specificity to anti-honorification: Conventional implicature of disjunction inia in Korean. Linguistic Research 37(3): 531-580. The goal of this paper is to investigate the pragmatic meaning of the disjunction-driven anti-specificity marker inia associated with rigid designators such as proper nouns (e.g., }ohn-inta) in Korean. Its attachahUity to a specific referent is unexpected in the previous accounts of inia (Choi 2011; Kang 2015, 2017, a.o.), assuming the felicity condition that the domain of referentially vague items like ' vAt-phrase-inka should not be a singleton set with a fixed value. With a proper name, however, the referential vagueness presupposition cannot be satisfied. We argue that this particular use of inia is pragmatically aocammodatedby the anti-honorific connotational nuance, which is independent of the at-issue content In particular, we propose that the derogatory sense triggered by inlais QnventicnalJnp& atune(ä la Potts 2005), expressing a speaker's negative attitude toward the target. We furthermore examine its co-occurrence patterns with other typical expressives and show how the dynamic paradigm of multiple expressives (the anti-honorific inia and others) can be predicted by the compatibility condition (Yoon 2015). Regarding the relationship between the two types, anti-specific vs. anti-honorific Ma, we show that whereas the anti-specific inia contributes the semantic content of referential vagueness, the anti-honorific inia has only the pragmatic contribution of mitigation as a reflex of grammaticali2ation of the attitude holder's subjective perspective. Theoretical implications of the current study thus include: (i) the conceptual connection from ana-specificityto anti-honarificatian is established; (ii) the identification of another case of expressive element in language lends further support to the notion of miltidmensicnalitym meaning; and (iii) the close examination of axnpatitäity oondticn reveals the systematicity of expressives as part of our grammar.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-580
Number of pages50
JournalLinguistic Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • anti-honorification
  • anti-specificity
  • compatibility condition model
  • conventional implicature
  • disjunctive particle
  • mitigation


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