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Acoustic Cues for the Korean Stop Contrast-Dialectal Variation

Publication Date
  • Koreanisch
  • Phonetik
  • Phonologie
  • Dialektologie
  • Ddc:495
  • Design
  • Linguistics
  • Musicology
  • Physics


In this study, cross-dialectal variation in the use of the acoustic cues of VOT and F0 to mark the laryngeal contrast in Korean stops is examined with Chonnam Korean and Seoul Korean. Prior experimental results (Han & Weitzman, 1970; Hardcastle, 1973; Jun, 1993 &1998; Kim, C., 1965) show that pitch values in the vowel onset following the target stop consonants play a supplementary role to VOT in designating the three contrastive laryngeal categories. F0 contours are determined in part by the intonational system of a language, which raises the question of how the intonational system interacts with phonological contrasts. Intonational difference might be linked to dissimilar patterns in using the complementary acoustic cues of VOT and F0. This hypothesis is tested with 6 Korean speakers, three Seoul Korean and three Chonnam Korean speakers. The results show that Chonnam Korean involves more 3-way VOT and a 2-way distinction in F0 distribution in comparison to Seoul Korean that shows more 3-way F0 distribution and a 2-way VOT distinction. The two acoustic cues are complementary in that one cue is rather faithful in marking 3-way contrast, while the other cue marks the contrast less distinctively. It also seems that these variations are not completely arbitrary, but linked to the phonological characteristics in dialects. Chonnam Korean, in which the initial tonal realization in the accentual phrase is expected to be more salient, tends to minimize the F0 perturbation effect from the preceding consonants by taking more overlaps in F0 distribution. And a 3-way distribution of VOT in Chonnam Korean, as compensation, can be also understood as a durational sensitivity. Without these characteristics, Seoul Korean shows relatively more overlapping distribution in VOT and more 3-way separation in F0 distribution.

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