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Prescriptive adaptation of English stops in initial S-clusters into Korean

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This study investigates the role of prescriptivism and the influence of orthographic conventions on the adaptation of English loanwords in Korean. An experiment is conducted in which native speakers of Korean produce on-line adaptations of English nonce words with word-initial clusters of s-plus-stop (/sp-, st-, sk-/). The results show that Korean listeners categorize English voiceless unaspirated stops as Korean tense stops in the absence of corresponding English graphemes, whereas they select Korean aspirated stops when presented with their English spellings (p, t, c/k). This reveals a prominent bias in borrowing toward substitution by the phonetically closest sounds in the recipient language, albeit only when the role of source language orthography is suppressed.

Keywords: Korean; adaptation; loanwords; perception; phonology; prescriptivism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/kl.15.1.06lee

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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