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ISSN : 1226-4822(Print)
ISSN : (Online)
The Sociolinguistic Journal of Korea Vol.26 No.2 pp.37-62

Discursive Functions of the Free Morpheme ish

Hyeongseok Jeong
Instructor, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies


This study aims to explore the corpus data of the free morpheme ish with special reference to its discursive functions. Derived from suffix -ish, ish develops as a free morpheme denoting a sense of approximation. On its way to broadening its functions, ish not only approximates the propositional meaning, but also hedges the speaker's attitude towards the proposition. The semantics of ish indicates that the degree is slightly below the standard, but data show that this is not always the case. Contextual factors play a part in determining the degree of ish. By thoroughly analyzing data from the corpora, I focus on the functions of the ish in the discourse level, and the role of the surrounding context in differing scale of the free morpheme ish. Moreover, I introduce the punctuation marks occurring with the use of ish in written examples by focusing on the characteristics of each punctuation mark.