Jae-Young Shim successfully defended his dissertation on July 31, and has started  teaching in the Department of English Language and Literature, Pukyong National University, Busan, South Korea. Jae-Young is teaching graduate and undergraduate courses about topics a such minimalist syntax, language acquisition, and English grammar. Congratulations, Jae-Young! Information about Jae-Young's dissertation is given below.

The Contrast-dependent CI-Calculation of Topic and Focus in Korean Transitive Constructions

Chair: Sam Epstein. Other committee members: Marlyse Baptista, Rick Lewis, Acrisio Pires

Prevailing analyses of Noun Phrases with a topic or focus interpretation in the literature of the Minimalist Program depend heavily on a syntactic projection (e.g., Topic Phrase) or a syntactic feature (e.g., [+foc]) dedicated to Topic or Focus. For example, Rizzi (1997) utilizes both a Topic Phrase and a Focus Phrase to account for a topic and focus interpretation of Noun Phrases. Miyagawa (2010), another influential work on Topic and Focus within the Minimalist Program, also employs the notion Focus as a syntactic feature that operates in the syntax.

This dissertation, contrary to the prevailing analyses briefly described above, aims to present an alternative account of Noun Phrases with a topic or focus interpretation. In the account, I argue, without appealing to a syntactic projection or feature dedicated to Topic or Focus, that a topic or focus interpretation of Noun Phrases is calculated and determined at the Conceptual-Intentional interface by means of the structural properties of Noun Phrases.

To achieve this goal, this dissertation explores Topic- and Focus-related interpretations of Noun Phrases in typical transitive constructions in Korean and proposes that the presence of a contrastively marked Noun Phrase, whether it is Topic or Focus, plays a crucial role in determining a topic or focus interpretation of Noun Phrases in Korean.