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The production and perception of coronal fricatives in Seoul Korean: The case for a fourth laryngeal category

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This article presents new data on the contrast between the two voiceless coronal fricatives of Korean, variously described as a lenis/fortis or aspirated/fortis contrast. In utterance-initial position, the fricatives were found to differ in centroid frequency; duration of frication, aspiration, and the following vowel; and several aspects of the following vowel onset, including intensity profile, spectral tilt, and F1 onset. The between-fricative differences varied across vowel contexts, however, and spectral differences in the vowel onset especially were more pronounced for /a/ than for /i, , u/. This disparity led to the hypothesis that cues in the following vowel onset would exert a weaker influence on perception for high vowels than for low vowels. Perception data provided general support for this hypothesis, indicating that while vowel onset cues had the largest impact on perception for both high- and low-vowel stimuli, this influence was weaker for high vowels. Perception was also strongly influenced by aspiration duration, with modest contributions from frication duration and F0 onset. Taken together, these findings suggest that the ‘non-fortis’ fricative is best characterized not in terms of the lenis or aspirated categories for stops, but in terms of a unique representation that is both lenis and aspirated.
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Keywords: aspiration; duration; fricatives; laryngeal contrast; perceptual cues; vowel onset

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-01-01

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