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LINGUIST List 19.691

Fri Feb 29 2008

Diss: Phonetics/Phonology: Silva: 'The Phonetics and Phonology of S...'

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        1.    David Silva, The Phonetics and Phonology of Stop Lenition in Korean


Message 1: The Phonetics and Phonology of Stop Lenition in Korean
Date: 29-Feb-2008
From: David Silva <djsilvauta.edu>
Subject: The Phonetics and Phonology of Stop Lenition in Korean
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Institution: Cornell University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 1992

Author: David James Silva

Dissertation Title: The Phonetics and Phonology of Stop Lenition in Korean

Linguistic Field(s): Phonetics
Phonology

Subject Language(s): Korean (kor)


Dissertation Director(s):
John B. Whitman

Dissertation Abstract:

This study, an investigation into the phonological and phonetic properties of
the Korean stop consonants, addresses the following issues: (1) the underlying
representations for the Korean stops; (2) the allophonic variation they exhibit
in three different prosodic positions: at the edge of a phonological phrase, at
the edge of a phonological word, and within a phonological word; and (3) a
formal characterization of those processes commonly referred to as lenition.

Speech data collected from five male speakers of the standard language served as
the basis for two acoustic studies, one on the lax stops/p/, /t/, and /k/ and
another on the bilabial stops lax /p/, reinforced /p'/ and aspirated /ph/. For
each token, number of the acoustic characteristics were measured, including the
duration of stop closure, the duration of voicing in the closure, and vowel lag
('aspiration'). The data were then subjected to statistical analysis to discern
the relative effects of several independent variables, among them place of
articulation, phonation type, and prosodic position.

The results of the investigation of the lax stops indicated that place of
articulation plays only a minor role in the analysis while prosodic position is
a more important factor. The investigation of the bilabial stops showed that
phonation type, prosodic position, and their interaction all play a significant
role in accounting for the observed acoustic behavior. As specifically regards
the effects of prosody, it was found that segments occurring within a word are
weaker (i.e., more sonorous and shorter) than those occurring at either the edge
of a phonological phrase (where they are strongest) or the edge of a
phonological word within a phrase.

Based on the results of the quantitative study, a new analysis of lenition--one
that recognizes a distinction between phonological and phonetic processes--is
presented. Under this account, phonological lenition is characterized by a loss
of phonological structure and a subsequent non-directional reassociation of
neighboring features, thereby yielding categorical changes. Phonetic lenition is
characterized by a loss of duration, which gives rise to gradient values in the
phonetic properties associated with the stops.


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