From reality through contrast to counter-expectation

The development of silsang in Korean


  • Hyun Sook Lee Jangan University



grammaticalization, discourse marker, silsang, counterexpectation


The Korean lexeme silsang, consisting of sil ‘real’ and sang ‘state’, displays interesting semantic and functional changes. It was first attested in 17th-century data with the meaning of ‘the reality’. The lexeme silsang has under-gone semantic and structural changes, and it survives as a noun denoting ‘reality’, an adverb ‘in reality’, and as a discourse marker with a few discursive meanings in contemporary Korean. The lexeme denotes counter-expectation as well as signalling contrast. Based on the data taken from historical and contemporary corpora, the developmental course of silsang in Korean reveals theoretically notable aspects: subjectification, intersubjectification, stance-marking, positionality, and source characteristics.

Author Biography

Hyun Sook Lee, Jangan University

Hyun Sook Lee is an Associate Professor at Jangan University, South Korea. She received her MA and PhD in Linguistics from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. Her research areas include language change (grammaticalisation studies), discourse analysis, and cognitive-functional linguistics.


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How to Cite

Lee, H. S. (2021). From reality through contrast to counter-expectation: The development of silsang in Korean. East Asian Pragmatics, 6(3), 403–421.