Working paper Open Access

Complete neutralization of manner of articulation in Korean

Hyunsoon, Kim; Jongman, Allard

While most studies of neutralization have focused on word-final devoicing, the present study investigated a different kind of neutralization, namely that of manner of articulation. Korean has a rule of Coda Neutralization, whereby word-final obstruents (e.g., It, th , sl) are all phonetically realized as [t].

Making use of the fact that vowels preceding fricatives are longer than when preceding oral stops, vowel and closure durations were measured to determine if the speech signal contained any acoustic cues to the underlying manner distinction.

Data from four speakers suggest that neutralization of manner is phonetically complete. Moreover, complete neutralization was observed despite the fact that Korean orthography distinguishes between the different underlying consonants.

Finally, 83% of all word-final stops in this study were found to be followed by a brief burst. This is of particular interest given the long tradition in Korean phonology to consider coda neutralization to yield unreleased stops.

This paper is copyrighted, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) - see
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