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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: Topics in the Vowel Phonology of Korean Add Dissertation
Author: Yongsung Lee Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Indiana University Bloomington
Completed in: 1993
Linguistic Subfield(s): Phonology;
Subject Language(s): Korean
Director(s): Stuart Davis
Daniel Dinnsen
Robert Port

Abstract: The aim of this study is broadly twofold: in the first part, I present recent theoretical developments dealing with the nature of phonological representations. Based on data from various languages, I propose a monovalent feature system, feature underspecification, a feature geometry model with a branching place node, and a moraic syllable structure. In the second part of the study I apply these to the vowel phonology of Korean. It is shown that with the single- valued feature system and syllable structure motivated in the first part, a comprehensive and consistent analysis can be offered to different aspects of Korean vowel phonology.

It is shown that the on-glide in Korean is an onset segment rather than a nucleus segment. Vowel harmony in Korean is analyzed as the spreading of the feature-size morpheme [RTR] under the condition of tongue position node adjacency and an attempt is made to relate the idiophone vowel harmony to the vowel harmony in verb suffixation. Moreover, the study clearly shows that umlaut in Korean can be explained by the spreading of [coronal] from the high front vowel to the target across consonants: the blocking effect that some of the intervening consonants display is dealt with consistently without abandoning feature geometry or underspecification theory. It is also argued that vowel merger and /i/ deletion in Korean can be explained by adopting weightless vowels, given the hierarchical representation of features and syllables.

The focus of the discussion in this dissertation is to see how the different modes of representation interact with one another in the phonological phenomena in Korean that involve vowels. More emphasis is laid on the modes of representation than on the interaction of rules and rule ordering. Thus it is shown that the problems and exceptions of previous analyses of Korean vowel phonology can be dealt with within the theoretical frameworks presented in the first part of the dissertation.