Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics



First Advisor

Jeffrey D Witzel

Second Advisor

Naoko O Witzel

Third Advisor

Suwon Yoon


According to the Unaccusative Hypothesis (UH), intransitive verbs can be divided into two classes: unaccusative verbs (e.g. fall) and unergative verbs (e.g. dance) (Burzio 1986, Perlmutter 1978). Several approaches have been developed to distinguish between these two classes of verbs across languages. Sorace (2000) also developed the Split Intransitive Hierarchy (SIH) which proposes that there is a continuum of intransitive verbs ranging from unaccusative to unergative. Evidence for the Unaccusative Hypothesis has been developed from an empirical perspective. The aim of this dissertation is to complement the linguistic theory of the UH in Korean by examining two Korean unaccusative diagnostics using two empirical methodologies. This study combines evidence from an acceptability ratings experiment with corpus linguistic data to investigate whether the Korean unaccusative diagnostics are supported in real data. For the corpus-based study, two Korean unaccusative diagnostics were chosen: the case marking of floating quantifiers (CFQ), and the case marking of oblique nominals (CON) (Yang 1991). These two diagnostics were investigated using the Sejong Morph Tagged Corpus. The corpus-based findings indicate that: 1) there is a distinction between unaccusative verbs and unergative verbs in the corpus, and 2) the case-marking floating quantifier diagnostic needs to be complemented with an adverb factor. In addition, these two diagnostics were evaluated using the SIH verbal categories. The data indicate that they were not sensitive to this hierarchy. For the acceptability ratings experiment, an online survey was conducted to determine the degree of acceptability for unaccusative and unergative verbs with the case marking of floating quantifiers. The results showed that generally people rated UA verbs higher than UE verbs. However, the adverb factor affected the rating of UE verbs.


Korean unaccusatives


Linguistics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

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