Lengthening and shortening processes in Korean

  • Kang, Hyunsook (Department of English Language and Culture, Hanyang University) ;
  • Kim, Tae-kyung (Center for Integrated General Education, Hanyang University)
  • Received : 2020.07.29
  • Accepted : 2020.09.16
  • Published : 2020.09.30


This study examines the duration of Korean lax and tense stops in the prosodic word-medial position, their interactions with nearby segments, and the phonological implications of these interactions. It first examines the lengthening of consonants at the function of the short lax stop. Experiment 1 shows that the sonorant C1 is significantly longer before a short lax stop C2 than before a long tense stop. Experiment 2 shows that the short lax stop C1 cancels the contrast between the lax and tense obstruent at C2, making them appear as long tense obstruents (Post-Stop Tensing Rule). We suggest that such lengthening phenomena occur in Korean to robustly preserve the contrastive length difference between C and CC. Second, this study examines the vowel shortening, known as Closed-Syllable Vowel Shortening, before a long tense stop or before the consonant sequence. Experiment 3 suggests that it be interpreted as temporal adjustment to make the interval from the onset of a vowel to the onset of the following vowel of near-equal length. Conclusively, we suggest that Korean speech be planned and controlled with two specific intervals. One is the duration of contrastive consonant intervals between vowels, and the other is the duration from the onset of a vowel to the onset of the following vowel.



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