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By Orin Hargraves

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Academic Paper

Title: Effects of tone on the three-way laryngeal distinction in Korean: An acoustic and aerodynamic comparison of the Seoul and South Kyungsang dialects
Author: Hyunjung Lee
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Kansas
Author: Allard Jongman
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Institution: University of Kansas
Linguistic Field: Phonetics; Phonology; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: Korean
Abstract: The three-way laryngeal distinction among voiceless Korean stops has been well documented for the Seoul dialect. The present study compares the acoustic and aerodynamic properties of this stop series between two dialects, non-tonal Seoul and tonal South Kyungsang Korean. Sixteen male Korean speakers (eight from Seoul and eight from Kyungsang) participated. Measures collected included VOT, f0 at vowel onset, H1-H2, and air pressure and airflow. The presence versus absence of lexical pitch accent affects both the acoustic and aerodynamic properties. First, Seoul speakers use a combination of f0 and VOT to distinguish the three-way contrast of Korean stops, while Kyungsang speakers mainly use VOT. Second, the presence of lexical pitch for Kyungsang speakers makes f0 an unreliable acoustic cue for the three Korean stops. Third, dialectal differences in VOT to mark the three-way distinction support the notion of a diachronic transition whereby VOT differences between the lenis and aspirated stops in Seoul Korean have been decreasing over the past 50 years. Finally, the aerodynamic results make it possible to postulate the articulatory state of the glottis, indicating a positive correlation with acoustic parameters. Based on the acoustic and aerodynamic results, phonological representations of Korean stops for the tonal and non-tonal dialects are suggested.


This article appears IN Journal of the International Phonetic Association Vol. 42, Issue 2.

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