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Perception of Contrast in Korean Loanword Adaptation

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Abstract. A number of modifications affect the sound structure of foreign words as they are bor-rowed into Korean. We consider specifically the adaptation of word-final stops, liquids, and voiceless as well as voiced coronal sibilants. The particular manifestation of these is shown to corre-late with the place they hold in the syllable structure of the recipient language rather than, as might seem to be the case, with either contrastive categories of the source language or allophonic qualities of the recipient. This discussion thus contributes to the continuing debate over the awareness that listeners may have of phonetic properties that are contrastive in the source language but redundant in the recipient (and hence presumably below the threshold of categorical perception), as well as vice versa, and it offers a unified view of the factors which appear to be at play in the phonological pro-cessing of both native words and loanwords. At base is a simple yet comprehensive principle of phonological perception: Phonetic representations are interpreted according to the salient perceptual categories of the listener's native language.
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Keywords: Korean; adaptation; contrast; loanwords; perception; phonology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2006

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