Ecology of PF: A study of Korean phonology and morphology in a derivational approach

Date of Completion

January 2007


Language, Linguistics




This dissertation studies the component of PF, i.e., morphology, phonology and phonetics, in Korean in a consistently derivational approach. Using phonological arguments and an acoustic phonetic study, chapter 2 identifies the surface syllable structure. It also recognizes the two syllable structure constraints: the complex onset constraint and the branching nucleus constraint. Using this syllable structure and these constraints, chapter 3 provides a comprehensive analysis of hiatus in verbal morphology and related issues within Calabrese's (1995, 2002a) Dynamic Phonology framework. A limited number of actual outcomes for similar hiatus configurations show that the constraint-induced repairs are not finite but limited, and subject to the general principle of economy. It is shown that economy chooses shorter derivations over longer ones, when more than one derivation is possible and yield the same final outcome. It also shows that the hiatus constraint is a non-surface, cyclic constraint, operating once per morphophonological cycle. Furthermore, it argues that certain phonological operations must be described with the traditional rule-like formalism. It is also pointed out that the syllable structure constraints identified in chapter 2 are surface constraints. Chapters 4 and 5 provide a morphological study in Distributed Morphology (Bobaljik 2000, Halle and Marantz 1993, Marantz 2006). With verbal and adjectival roots exhibiting negative and honorific suppletion, these chapters identify the morphological structure of the inflected predicates (and hence phrase structure to a certain extent) in Korean. It identifies the paradoxical situation arising from the interaction of negative suppletion and honorific suppletion: the structurally outer honorific morphology blocks the inner negative suppletion. Root allomorphy of honorific suppletion is analyzed as vocabulary insertion, and the portmanteau negative suppletion is characterized as fusion interleaved with vocabulary insertion. The notion of phases (Chomsky 2000, et seq.) explains the unavailability of honorific suppletion with causatives. The dissertation resolves the issue of opacity, the major problem of a representational and parallelist theory The derivational approach allows a coherent and more adequate grammatical analysis of Korean morphophonology. It highlights the ecological nature of language, in that language is a living, dynamic and organic body, and more than simply a static or representational object. ^ Keywords. generative grammar, phonology, morphology, morphophonology, morphosyntax, PF, Dynamic Phonology, Distributed Morphology, acoustics, syllable, derivation, rule, constraint, repair, hiatus, suppletion, allomorphy, contextual allomorphy, vocabulary insertion, fusion, Korean. ^