ABSTRACT

In syntax, a Korean WH-question with an NP-man 'NP-only' is claimed to be ungrammatical if the NP-man precedes the WH-word (e.g., Beck and Kim 1997; Beck 2006). It is called the intervention effect, since, they claim, the NP-man intervenes the connection between the WH-word and its licensing Q-operator at LF. Tomioka (2007) claims that they are not ungrammatical but only pragmatically unnatural. Others (Wee 2007; Moon 2008; Moon et al. 2009) also suggest pragmatic approaches to the intervention effect. This paper reviews these pragmatic accounts, pointing out a few things to be clarified. It also presents another pragmatic account of the intervention effect in Korean, focusing on the NP-man, within the relevance-theoretic framework. This cognitive account explains why the intervention effect arises, why the judgements of an intervention-effect sentence vary among linguists, why the scrambled sentence is preferred, and why echo or echoic questions do not show the intervention effect.

KEYWORD

focus, grammaticality, information structure, anti-topic items, presupposition, background information, metarepresentation, echo questions

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