Phonological Trends in Seoul Korean Compound Tensification

Seoyoung Kim


This study investigates Seoul Korean compound tensification. Based on the data collected through a survey, it shows that various phonological factors contribute to the overall tensification probability. The tendencies caused by these factors are follows: (i) tensification is more likely with high frequency items; (ii) tensification is more likely when WA ends with an obstruent, followed by a nasal, liquid and a vowel in order; (iii) tensification is less likely when WB contains a laryngeally marked consonant; (iv) tensification is more likely when WB ends with a liquid and WA also begins with a coronal consonant. This study also provides a formal analysis of this phenomenon, using OT constraints. The specific weights of each constraint are evaluated through Maxent Grammar Tool. This weighted set of the constraints was highly successful in predicting the applicability of compound tensification. Thus, the grammar suggested for Seoul Korean compound tensification can be learned from the actual native speakers’ pronunciation data, and also that this learned grammar can capture the various tendencies observed in this phenomenon. 

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