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Frequency effects on the vowel length contrast merger in Seoul Korean

Frequency effects on the vowel length contrast merger in Seoul Korean Abstract This paper presents an apparent-time study of the vowel length contrast merger in Seoul Korean based on duration measurements of over 370,000 vowels in word-initial syllables in a read-speech corpus. The effects of word frequency on vowel duration and the lexical diffusion of long-vowel shortening are also examined. The findings confirm the observation made in the previous literature that the vowel length contrast is on its way out in the language, and that this sound change is nearing completion. We also find a significant effect of frequency on long-vowel duration: other things being equal, these vowels are shorter in high-frequency words than in low-frequency words. The rate of change does not differ significantly depending on the frequency of words apart from the high-frequency words reaching the endpoint of change and bottoming out in the change earlier than mid- and low-frequency words. The observed frequency effect is compatible with a model in which the frequency effect on duration comes from on-line factors that affect phonetic implementation of speech sounds, along with an across-the-board lenition bias that drives the sound change, not from stored tokens of word-specific variants. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Laboratory Phonology de Gruyter

Frequency effects on the vowel length contrast merger in Seoul Korean

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 by the
ISSN
1868-6346
eISSN
1868-6354
DOI
10.1515/lp-2015-0014
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract This paper presents an apparent-time study of the vowel length contrast merger in Seoul Korean based on duration measurements of over 370,000 vowels in word-initial syllables in a read-speech corpus. The effects of word frequency on vowel duration and the lexical diffusion of long-vowel shortening are also examined. The findings confirm the observation made in the previous literature that the vowel length contrast is on its way out in the language, and that this sound change is nearing completion. We also find a significant effect of frequency on long-vowel duration: other things being equal, these vowels are shorter in high-frequency words than in low-frequency words. The rate of change does not differ significantly depending on the frequency of words apart from the high-frequency words reaching the endpoint of change and bottoming out in the change earlier than mid- and low-frequency words. The observed frequency effect is compatible with a model in which the frequency effect on duration comes from on-line factors that affect phonetic implementation of speech sounds, along with an across-the-board lenition bias that drives the sound change, not from stored tokens of word-specific variants.

Journal

Laboratory Phonologyde Gruyter

Published: Oct 1, 2015

References