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LINGUIST List 23.2419

Mon May 21 2012

Diss: Phonetics/Phonology/Korean: Kim: 'Syllable Structure, Frequency, Analogy, and Phonetics: Factors in North Kyungsang Korean accentuation of novel words'

Editor for this issue: Xiyan Wang <xiyanlinguistlist.org>

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Date: 21-May-2012
From: Hyun-ju Kim <smilekhj75hotmail.com>
Subject: Syllable Structure, Frequency, Analogy, and Phonetics: Factors in North Kyungsang Korean accentuation of novel words
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Institution: State University of New York at Stony Brook
Program: Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2012

Author: Hyun-ju Kim

Dissertation Title: Syllable Structure, Frequency, Analogy, and Phonetics: Factors in North Kyungsang Korean accentuation of novel words

Dissertation URL: http://www.linguistics.stonybrook.edu/research/dissertations

Linguistic Field(s): Phonetics

Subject Language(s): Korean (kor)

Dissertation Director:
Christina Y Bethin
Marie K Huffman
Ellen I Broselow
Michael Kenstowicz

Dissertation Abstract:

North Kyungsang Korean (NKK) is a pitch accent language in which each word
has one of a restricted set of possible tonal patterns, and where the tonal
pattern of a given lexical word is not fully predictable. This dissertation
reports on a corpus study of accent patterns in existing words and the
results of a study in which NKK speakers were asked to produce novel forms.
This study demonstrated that when NKK speakers produce novel words, their
accent patterns reveal regular tendencies, most notably a tendency for
heavy syllables to attract accent. An experiment in which speakers were
asked to produce novel forms that differed in only one segment from
existing forms revealed that these tendencies do not originate from analogy
to phonetically similar familiar words. Rather, they reflect a statistical
association in the lexicon between accent and heavy syllables, though this
association was even stronger in novel words than in existing words. In
addition, phonetic factors predicting the position of accent were found:
accent was more likely in syllables with aspirated onset consonants and in
syllables containing high vowels, perhaps due to the acoustic property of
higher F0 which is shared by high vowels, vowels following aspirated
consonants, and accented (high-toned) vowels.

I argue that NKK speakers' behavior in accenting novel words reflects a set
of universal markedness constraints. In native existing words, constraints
which require lexical entries to surface faithfully in the output outrank
these markedness constraints, but when no lexical entry is present, the
effects of the markedness constraints emerge. I present a grammar involving
a set of stochastically ranked constraints which predicts the patterns of
both existing and novel words, and present evidence that this grammar is
learnable on the basis of the patterns of existing words. The data from the
accentuation of novel words supports the conclusion that speakers tend to
extend statistical tendencies of the lexicon to novel forms when such
tendencies are consistent with cross-linguistic phonological tendencies.

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