Young-ran An

Stony Brook University
Talk Title: 
Frequency, Gradience, and Variation in Consonant Insertion
Event Type: 
Dissertation Defense
Spring 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
SBS S207

This dissertation addresses the extent to which linguistic behavior can be described in terms of the projection of patterns from existing lexical items, through an investigation of Korean reduplication. Korean has a productive pattern of reduplication in which a consonant is inserted in a vowel-initial base, illustrated by forms such as alok-talok ‘mottled,’ otoŋ-potoŋ ‘chubby.’ Based on study of a Korean corpus as well as experiments in which native speakers formed reduplicated versions of nonce words, I argue that the choice of inserted consonant is affected by a complex set of factors, including a tendency for inserted consonants to be distinct in their place and manner of articulation from other consonants in the word and a preference for particular consonant-vowel sequences. While existing reduplicated forms in the lexicon exhibit these tendencies to some extent, the effects are even stronger in nonce forms generated in real time, suggesting that speakers have internalized a grammar encoding particular structural preferences.