Cognitive linguistics approach to semantics of spatial relations in Korean
All languages have some ways to talk about the spatial relationship between two entities: a trajector (TR) and a landmark (LM) (Langacker 1987). Every language uses some combination of linguistic mechanisms (prepositions, postpositions, particles, spatial nouns, spatial verbs, adverbs, etc.) to talk about these spatial relations. The Korean language uses a combination of spatial markers, spatial nouns, and spatial verbs to denote spatial arrangements.Previous research on Korean spatial language, however, has not been performed in a comprehensive manner that considers all of these elements of spatial language. My research attempts to address this gap in the literature by undertaking a comprehensive study to overview all of these spatial terms in relation to one another while also investigating the complex semantic system of each spatial marker. This study follows a cognitive linguistics perspective, which claims that lexical or grammatical morphemes are meaningful as they are conceptualized as unique image-schema; that multiple meanings of lexical or grammatical morphemes are developed not accidentally or arbitrarily, but rather through regular cognitive processes, including cognitive associations formed by experiential correlations which reflect human physical-spatial experience with a particular spatial scene and humans' abilities to develop natural categories that take part in motivated organized semantic networks.More specifically, the present study, employing the Principled Polysemy model proposed by Andrea Tyler and Vyvyan Evans (2001a, 2003, 2004), argues that the semantic network of spatial markers -ey, -eyse, and -ulo can be explained with one central meaning, and that all of these spatial markers exhibit a polysemous semantic network with motivated extended meanings. The key principles analyzing the meaning of each spatial marker and to disambiguate the meanings with other markers have been the functional element, and other cognitive elements such as TR's orientation, highlighted aspect of LM, and change of perspective, etc.This dissertation also argues that, borrowing the notion of Distributed Semantics put forth by Sinha and Kuteva (1995), Korean distributes spatial meanings primarily over 3 elements: spatial markers, spatial nouns, and verbs. In short, the analysis shows that spatial markers and spatial nouns conflate geometric and/or topological elements, while spatial markers and spatial verbs conflate manner, directionality, or path relations. In so doing, this study also attempts to add to the growing body of research investigating language specific semantics of spatial language and syntactic mechanisms of spatial language.
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