The Patterns of Vowel Insertion in Korean Speakers' Production of English C+/l/ and C+/r/ Clusters

  • Received : 2012.11.06
  • Accepted : 2012.12.17
  • Published : 2012.12.31


This study examines Korean speakers' production of English consonant clusters, focusing on vowel insertion. An acoustic analysis along with a statistical test was carried out to see what factors are involved in this production. The following factors were considered in the present study: phonetic properties, L1 transfer, and cluster types. Specifically, liquid types were considered to see if they cause any difference depending on C+/l/ or C+/r/ clusters in the onset in terms of vowel insertion patterns. That is, it was examined which Korean speakers produce better, C+/l/ or C+/r/ clusters. Interestingly, the result of the present experiment shows that the correct answer percent was higher in the C+/r/ onset clusters than C+/l/ onset clusters unlike Eckman's (1977) Marked Differential Hypothesis. In other words, the occurrence of the vowel insertion in C+/l/ clusters is higher than C+/r/ onset clusters. This may be attributed to L1 transfer. Furthermore, in the present study, three patterns of vowel insertion in the C+/l/ clusters were identified by implementing an acoustic analysis based on vowel duration and formant: a) vowel insertion with gemination, b) phonological epenthesis, and c) phonetic intrusion. However, phonetic intrusion mainly occurred in the C+/r/ clusters. Data were collected from 54 Korean speakers to see what factors are involved in vowel insertion patterns in the production of English consonant clusters. This study provides evidence for L1 transfer, the duration effect of /l/ in a different context, and three kinds of vowel insertion patterns in conjunction with gestural coordination by age groups.



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