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Kim, Hyoju. 2016. Contextual distribution of English loanword word-initial tensification in Korean. Studies in Phonetics, Phonology and Morphology 22.2. 245-288. 

This study investigates the contextual distribution of word-initial tensification of English loanwords in Korean. In English loanwords, word-initial lax stops are optionally tensified. Based on two different data sources, it is confirmed that word-initial tensification of English loanwords shows three statistically significant contextual effects, which are referred to as height, length, and assimilation effect, respectively. The present study found that the word-initial tensification of English loanwords is significantly more likely to occur when the height of the vowel following the tensification site is non-high compared to high, when the word is monosyllabic rather than multisyllabic, and when the onset of the syllable following the tensification site is a tense /s’/. In order to explore the underlying reason for each contextual effect, two possible sources were investigated. The first one was the word-initial tensification of native Korean words that shows optional tensification like loanwords. The second one was the native Korean lexicon. Given the claims that the variable patterns of loanwords may reflect covert statistical generalizations of the native lexicon (Kubozono 2006, Zuraw 2010), the tendencies found in loanwords may also reflect statistical trends displayed by the Korean lexicon. The survey demonstrates that the phonological distribution of loanword tensification partially reflects the contextual distribution of both native tensification and the lexicon. In addition, acoustic and articulatory phonetic accounts are proposed with respect to the contextual effects. Finally, a learning simulation for the observed trends is conducted with a constraint set, adopting the concept of the Maximum Entropy model. The results show that the proper constraints and weights accurately predict the distribution observed in English loanwords. (Seoul National University)
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