Mieko Han and her Works on Korean Phonetics

Mieko Han의 한국어 음성학 연구

  • 고도흥 (한림대학교 인문대학 국어국문학과)
  • Published : 1997.04.01


This paper deals with a general review of Mieko S. Han, who made a significant contribution to the studies of Korean phonetics during the 1960' s and early 1970' s. As both a single and joint author, Dr. Han published important papers in both quantity and quality, which have been cited among Korean phoneticians until today. Before Dr. M. Han' s work, professor of USC in the department of East Asian Languages & Cultures, there were only a few phonetics-related publications in Korea, most of which are papers or books based on non-experimental traditional approach. It is known that there was coexistence between traditionalism and structuralism in the field of Korean linguistics. It was, however, fortunate that we had two important phoneticians (M. Han and Chin-W Kim) abroad at that time. Mieko Han' s concern was to investigate experimental characteristics of the system of Korean vowels and consonants using a Spectrograph, which was the single most important tool for analysing phonetic data at that time. Dr. Han conducted her experimental studies on Korean phonetics, mostly funded by the Office of Naval Research, in terms of duration, fundamental frequency, Voice Onset Time (VOT), intensity, and so on. This paper aims to re-appreciate Dr. Han's specific contribution to the study of Korean phonetics since she played an important role as a pioneer of early Korean phonetics. Further, it is highly recommended that Dr. Han's works can be extremely useful for a graduate student, who seriously would like to specialize in Korean phonetics in the first step.