Motivations for Consonant Epenthesis in Nonstandard Suffixed Forms of Korean Nouns


  • Ji Yea Kim Stony Brook University



This paper investigates variation in the treatment of consonant clusters in stem-final position in Korean nouns. Consonant clusters undergo obligatory simplification when nouns are in isolation (e.g., /talk/ [tak] 'chicken'). Consonant deletion may also occur in nonstandard Korean when a vowel-initial suffix is attached to nouns (e.g., /talk/ [] 'chicken-nom'). Another nonstandard variant discussed in this study is the suffixed forms of nouns with consonant epenthesis – particularly with [s]-epenthesis (e.g., /talk-i/ [] 'chicken-nom'). The epenthetic consonant has received little or no attention, or neglected as a speech error in previous research. However, results from a production experiment show that [s]-epenthesis occurs consistently in terms of its position and quality. I propose this is motivated by the Base identity effect required both at the segmental and suprasegmental levels. In addition, the quality of the epenthetic consonant is also consistent: that is, only [s] but not any other consonant is epenthesized. I ascribe this to the frequency effects by which speakers epenthesize a consonant that is frequent in onset position overall in Korean.






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