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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: Frequency, Gradience, and Variation in Consonant Insertion Add Dissertation
Author: Young-ran An Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: State University of New York at Stony Brook, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2010
Linguistic Subfield(s): Morphology; Phonetics; Phonology;
Subject Language(s): Korean
Director(s): Ellen Broselow
Marie Huffman
Robert Hoberman
Andries Coetzee

Abstract: This dissertation addresses the extent to which linguistic behavior can be
described in terms of the projection of patterns from existing lexical
items, through an investigation of Korean reduplication. Korean has a
productive pattern of reduplication in which a consonant is inserted in a
vowel-initial base, illustrated by forms such as alok-talok 'mottled,'
otoŋ-potoŋ 'chubby.' A wide range of consonants may be inserted, with
variation both within and across speakers. Based on study of a Korean
corpus as well as experiments in which native speakers formed reduplicated
versions of nonce words, I argue that the choice of inserted consonants is
affected by a complex set of factors, including syllable contact
constraints, preference for particular consonant-vowel sequences, and
tendency for inserted consonants to be distinct in place of articulation
from neighboring consonants.

The analysis in this dissertation shows that there is neither a single
preferred consonant nor a random choice among all possible consonants. This
phenomenon appears to contradict claims in previous literature concerning
the identity of consonants inserted in reduplication. Contrary to the claim
of Alderete et al. (1999) that segments in the reduplicant that are not
present in the base represent an emergence of the unmarked, the inserted
consonant (CI) in Korean reduplication cannot be an unmarked/default
consonant because distinct consonants can be inserted in the identical
environments, e.g. alok-talok 'mottled,' ulak-pulak ‘wild’ where /t/ and
/p/ are epenthesized although the bases contain the same set of consonants,
/l/ and /k/. Moreover, a particular vowel does not force the occurrence of
a particular consonant, e.g. ulak-pulak 'wild,' umuk-ʧumuk 'unevenly
hollowed,' upul-k'upul 'windingly' in which different CIs are followed by
the same vowel /u/.

Examination of the lexical patterns suggests that lexical frequency plays a
role in the choice of inserted consonant. First, the frequency of CIs in a
word creation experiment correlated significantly with the frequency of
word-initial Cs in the Korean corpus. Second, the frequency of consonant
combinations CI – C1 in forms of the shape CIV.C1VC2 correlated
significantly with the frequency of combinations of consonants in CVCV
forms in the corpus. Similarly, the frequency of combinations of CI – C2 in
forms of the shape CIV.C1VC2 correlated with the frequency of combinations
of onset C – coda C in the corpus. Third, the frequency of C – V
combinations in the experiment correlated significantly with the frequency
of lexical C – V combinations in the corpus.

An additional factor that appeared to affect the choice of CI was identity
avoidance. The general vocabulary of Korean was argued to respect an
OCP-Place constraint (identity avoidance in place), which does not allow
consonants with the same place to co-occur. The dictionary data and the
experimental responses also showed significant effects of identity
avoidance in place, based on the ratio of observed to expected occurrences
of inserted consonants in different contexts. Data from the general lexicon
and the reduplication data also revealed a distance effect: co-occurrence
restrictions appeared to be stricter for adjacent consonant pairs than for
non-adjacent consonant pairs.