Coordinations of Articulators in Korean Place Assimilation

  • Received : 2011.04.30
  • Accepted : 2011.06.13
  • Published : 2011.06.30


This paper examines several articulatory properties of /k/, known as a trigger of place assimilation as well as the object of post-obstruent tensing (/tk/), in comparison to non-assimilating controls (/kk/ and /kt/). Using EMMA, tongue body articulation in the place assimilation context robustly shows greater spatio-temporal articulation and lower jaw position. Results showed several characteristics. Firstly, constriction duration of the tongue body gesture in C2 of the assimilation context (/tk/) was longer than non-assimilating controls (/kk/ and /kt/). Secondly, constriction maxima also demonstrated greater constriction in the /tk/ sequences than in the control /kk/, but similar values with the control /kt/. In particular, results showed a significant relationship between the two variables - the longer the constriction duration, the greater the constriction degree. Lastly, jaw height was lower for the assimilating context /tk/, intermediate for the control /kk/, and higher for the control /kt/. Results suggest that speakers have lexical knowledge of place assimilation, producing a greater tongue body gesture in the spatio-temporal domains with lower jaw height as an indication of anticipating reduction of C1 in /tk/ sequences.