Temporal Marking in Korean Attributive Clauses and Linguistic Encoding of Human Memory

Volume 14
Issue 1
Min-Joo Kim
Subscribing to the widely held view among linguists that human language provides a window on the human mind, the present paper attempts to establish a connection between grammatical structures and the organization of human memory by looking at a set of temporal markers that appear in realis attributive clauses in Korean, namely, -(u)n, -nu-n, and -te-n. The central claim will be that the behavior of these three markers showcases how human language may encode “semantic memory” and “episodic memory” in the sense of Tulving (1972, 1983, 2002, 2005). The analysis proposed here provides indirect support for differentiating between semantic memory and episodic memory as well as dividing memory systems into sub-types. Additionally, the semantic properties of the Korean attributive clause markers uncovered here advances our understanding of the intricate relations that hold between grammatical categories that are known as Tense, Aspect, Mood, and Evidentiality (or TAME) in the linguistics literature. 

Key words: linguistic encoding of memory, semantic memory, episodic memory, temporal marking, TAME, Korean