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Sung, Eunkyung. 2018. The effects of consonant contact constraints and syllable structure on speech perception in Korean assimilation contexts. Studies in Phonetics, Phonology and Morphology 24.2. 147-172. 


This study investigated the effects of consonant contact constraints induced by L1 phonological rules and L1 syllable structure on speech perception in assimilation contexts. To this end, two Korean phonological rules (i.e. obstruent nasalization and lateralization) were tested, and three language groups (i.e. native Korean, English, and Chinese listeners) participated in a discrimination experiment. For obstruent nasalization, Korean listeners showed a clear compensation effect in a context-sensitive way, exhibiting much higher detection rates in the viable change context than in the unviable change context. However, English and Chinese listeners did not show a bias of compensation for the viable change context as clearly as Korean listeners. For lateralization, Korean listeners did not reveal language-specific compensation effects, and they showed low detection rates in both contexts. English listeners also discerned phonetic differences between [n] and [l] by showing very low detection rates in both contexts. On the other hand, Chinese listeners’ performance was different from that of the other two groups. Chinese listeners’ insensitivity to phonetic differences may be affected by highly restricted Chinese syllable structure in the coda position. Thus, it seems that speech perception involving assimilation contexts is strongly affected by L1 syllable structure along with consonant contact constraints and phonetic cues. (Cyber Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Professor) 


Keywords: syllable contact constraints, syllable structure, assimilation, obstruent nasalization, lateralization, perception, compensation 

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