Lanaguage Research
Language Education Institute, Seoul National University

An -(i)na Disjunction Phrase and a Limited Access to a Scalar Alternative

Jieun Kim1,*
*Corresponding Author : Associate Professor, English Language and Literature, University of Ulsan 505, Building14, Daehakro 93, Namgu, Ulsan 44620, Korea, E-mail:

ⓒ 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: Jun 26, 2018 ; Revised: Nov 23, 2018 ; Accepted: Nov 23, 2018

Published Online: Dec 31, 2018


This paper investigates how conjunctive meaning is derived from a disjunctive phrase, marked by -(i)na, in Korean. Previous studies on English disjunction phrases (Allonso-Ovalle 2005; Simons 2005; Saurland 2004; Fox 2007; Klinedinst 2007) have found that the contexts with possibility modals or plural domains provide environments for conjunctive inferences to be evoked via scalar implicatures. What is interesting in Korean -(i)na phrases is that the contexts where conjunctive meaning is derived from -(i)na appear to be more prevalent than it would have been expected under the system based on English disjunction phrases. I propose that the basic mechanism amounts to that of Fox 2007; Crnic, Chelma, and Fox 2015, among many others. In Korean, however, a lexical scalar alternative of a disjunction phrase, the conjunction phrase, is missing. When a strengthening process applies recursively in the given condition, a conjunctive inference, instead of an exclusive disjunction reading, is derived from a disjunction phrase.

Keywords: a disjunction phrase; a conjunctive inference; grammatical scalar implicature; plurality; recursive strengthening



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