Non-aspectual Case and Duration/Frequency Adverbials in Korean

Kyumin Kim 1 ,
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1Cheongju University
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ⓒ Copyright 2018 Language Education Institute, Seoul National University. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Jul 04, 2018 ; Revised: Aug 11, 2018 ; Accepted: Aug 11, 2018

Published Online: Aug 31, 2018


Across languages, certain types of adverbials, such as duration and frequency adverbials, have been identified as being accusative case-marked just like objects. As case is canonically assigned to nominal arguments such as objects, central questions have been whether the case on these adverbials is syntactic like that on objects, and how to characterize the realization of accusative case on adverbials. In addressing these questions, this paper proposes that accusative case on adverbials is syntactic. In particular, what this paper newly proposes is that accusative case is not aspectual, and thus not licensed by an aspectual functional head (e.g., Asp), unlike in some previous studies of Korean and other languages. This paper provides a minimalist syntactic analysis in which accusative case is the result of an Agree relation between an adverbial and a functional head that introduces an external argument. In the course of executing this analysis, the paper clarifies the contribution of animacy and agency to the realization of accusative case.

Keywords: duration adverbial; frequency adverbial; case; external argument; agent; animacy