Comprehension of elided phrases in Korean and English : vp-ellipsis, null object constructions, and one-substitution

Kim, Jin-Sook
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2012]
Starting Page
Ending Page
Alternative Title
The purpose of this study is to experimentally investigate the comprehension of elided phrases in Korean and English, focusing on the patterns exemplified below. (1) Korean a. VP-ellipsis: Sungki-ka phalan kabang-ul sa-ss-e-yo. Sunhuy-to-yey-yo Sungki-NOM blue bag-ACC buy-PST-DECL-POL Sunhuy-also-be-POL 'Sungki bought a blue bag. Sunhuy did too.' b. Null object construction: Sungki-ka phalan kabang-ul sa-ss-e-yo. Sungki-NOM blue bag-ACC buy-PST-DECL-POL Sunhuy-to sa-ss-e-yo. Sunhuy-also buy-PST-DECL-POL '(lit.) Sungki bought a blue bag. Sunhuy bought too.' (2) English a. VP-ellipsis: John bought a blue bag. Mary did too. b. One-substitution: John bought a blue bag. Mary bought one too. The results of this study reveal that Korean L1 speakers interpreted Korean VP-ellipsis by taking the entire VP in the first clause to be the antecedent of the elided VP in the second clause. For the null object construction, they comprehended the null argument in the second clause with the help of the antecedent clause rather than contextual information. With respect to recovery of adverbial modifiers, when an antecedent clause contained a modifier phrase denoting manner, reason, time, or location, Korean L1 speakers recovered the modifier phrase at the elided site in VP-ellipsis regardless of modifier type. For the null object construction, many of them recovered temporal and locative modifier phrases as null arguments in the second clause, whereas they tended not to recover manner and reason modifier phrases in the second clause. Similarly, Korean L2 learners of English and English L1 speakers interpreted English VP-ellipsis by reconstructing the entire VP of the first clause at the elided site in the second clause. In addition, they interpreted the pronoun one in English one-substitution, as in (2b), as referring to the higher N' (i.e., blue bag), rather than the lower N' (i.e., bag). Parallel to the recovery of modifier phrases in Korean VP-ellipsis and the null object construction, Korean L2 learners of English and English L1 speakers showed the same interpretive preference patterns in recovering manner, reason, locative, and temporal modifier phrases in English VP-ellipsis and one-substitution. The results of this study provide empirical evidence that VP-ellipsis is different from the null object construction. Moreover, based on comprehenders' different recovery patterns of modifier phrases in the null object construction and one-substitution patterns, I suggest that the recovery of modifier phrases is sensitive to the verb's event structure (Davidson 1980), independent of syntactic structure.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
Korean, English
Geographic Location
Time Period
Related To
Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Linguistics.
Table of Contents
Rights Holder
Local Contexts
Email if you need this content in ADA-compliant format.