Speech Prosody 2006

Dresden, Germany
May 2-5, 2006

Argument Structure and Focus Projection in Korean

Hee-Sun Kim (1), Sun-Ah Jun (2), Hyuck-Joon Lee (2), Jong-Bok Kim (3)

(1) Dept. of East Asian Languages, Stanford University, USA
(2) Dept. of Linguistics, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA
(3) School of English, Kyunghee University, Korea

It has been claimed that syntactic structures and the argument types (e.g. theme, oblique) can determine the domain of focus: focus on a particular type of internal argument may project its focus domain to a larger syntactic constituent than the focused item. It is also known that focus often has prosodic reflections through the manipulations of prosodic phrasing, prominence relation of words, and duration. This paper examines the relationship between the focus projection (especially ‘VP focus’) and the argument structure in Korean by investigating the prosodic correlates of focus. Results show that there is no sensitivity of argument type in projecting the domain of focus to Verb Phrase (VP). Regardless of argument types or word order, VP focus was prosodically marked at the VP-initial word by initiating a large intonational phrase boundary, raising its pitch peak, and lengthening of the VP-initial syllable and word. The results do not support the claim that the argument structure is an important factor in determining the domain of focus projection in Korean.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kim, Hee-Sun / Jun, Sun-Ah / Lee, Hyuck-Joon / Kim, Jong-Bok (2006): "Argument structure and focus projection in Korean", In SP-2006, paper 236.