Date of Award

August 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics


Jaklin Kornfilt

Second Advisor

Tej K. Bhatia

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities


The behavior of the copula varies by language, and it is often considered as an arbitrary element that is language-specific. While Korean and Japanese copular constructions share many characteristics, the differences between the two languages confirms the language-specific characteristic of the copula. Through examinations and anlayses of the morphosyntactic behaviors of the copulas in Korean and Japanese such as suffixation of tense morphemes, mood morphemes, and morphological derivation/contraction, the differences and similarities between Korean and Japanese copulas are highlighted, thereby contributing to the definition and the language-specific features and parametrization of the copulas in the two languages. This thesis claims that both Korean and Japanese copulas exclusively take nominal complements only, which connects to explicate the assignment of the nominative case in Korean copular constructions. This paper also argues that a mismatch in case-marking between the affirmative and negative constructions in Korean is a result of the phonotactics of the Korean language.


Open Access



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