Two types of speaker’s uncertainty over the epistemic space in Korean
(Arum Kang, Korea University)
The main goal of this paper is to propose a novel paradigm of the split epistemic uncertainty, based on two morphologically related particles in Korean: inka in wh-indefinites vs. nka in modalized questions. Previous literature assumes the interrogative-indefinite affinity as a reflex of a semantic relation amongst interrogative markers and indefinites by introducing a set of propositional alternatives (Alternative Semantics: Kratzer & Shimoyama 2002; Alonso-Ovalle 2006; Alonso-Ovalle & Menéndez-Benito 2010, inter alia). However, I challenge these claims by showing that there is a novel paradigm of epistemic ignorance which is not captured by means of propositional alternatives. I suggest a novel analysis, as originally proposed in my doctoral dissertation (Kang 2015), showing how the semantics of (i)nka variants is sensitive to speaker’s epistemic model (Giannakidou 1995 et seq.). In particular, I show that: (i) the common denominator of nka and inka is that they both express speaker’s epistemic indeterminacy; but (ii) the crucial difference arises from distinct epistemic spaces. The division on epistemic states will lead us to assume that there is a binary distinction between the types of alternatives that (i)nka introduces (i.e., propositional alternatives for nka vs. individual alternatives for inka). The division is further supported by the fact that there is a requirement of strict dichotomy with regard to the notion of speaker’s epistemic uncertainty which gives rise to the distinct semantics.