Effects of syllable structure and prominence on the alignment and the scaling of the phrase-initial rising tone in Seoul Korean: A preliminary study

Kim, Sahyang

  • Received : 2015.11.16
  • Accepted : 2015.12.21
  • Published : 2015.12.31


The present study investigates the effects of syllable structure and prosodic prominence on the patterns of tonal alignment and scaling of the phrase-initial rise in Seoul Korean. Two syllable structures (Onset (/#CVC.../ as in minsa) vs. No-onset (/#VC.../ as in insa)) and two prominence conditions (Focus vs. Neutral) were considered. Results showed that the alignment of the L and the H tones in the phrase-initial rise was affected by syllable structure but not by prominence. The time of L was before the vowel onset of the first syllable in the Onset condition (i.e., within the onset consonant) and it was after the vowel onset in the No-onset condition. The difference was attributable to the fact that the initial L was anchored at a fixed distance from the phrase boundary, which was about 30ms after the onset of the syllable in both cases. The time of H was also consistently observed about 20ms after the second vowel onset (i.e., /a/ in minsa/insa). Moreover, the rise time (the duration from the L to the H tones) was longer as the local syllable duration became longer due to different syllable structure and prominence conditions. Taken together, the results provide a support for the segmental anchoring hypothesis, which claims that both the beginning and the end of F0 movement are consistently aligned with segmental 'anchor' points with relatively high stability (Ladd et al., 1999). Results also showed that the scaling of the early rise was slightly influenced by syllable structure but not by prominence. The differences between the results of the current study and a previous study (Cho, 2011) are further discussed.


tonal alignment;tonal scaling;Seoul Korean;focus;syllable structure


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