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Title: Alternation of /n/ and /l/ in Korean language
Authors: Suen, Carmen Yeuk Hay (孫渃琋)
Department: Dept. of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics
Issue Date: 2008
Course: CTL4235 Project
Programme: BA (Hons) in Linguistics and Language Technology
Instructor: Dr Oh Sunyoung
Subjects: Korean language -- Nasality
Nasality (Phonetics)
Abstract: This paper aims to find out the occurrence of alternation of /n/ and /l/ in Korean nouns, which are noted to have undergone specific nasalization or lateralization. For example, 신라 (a name of an ancient Korean kingdoms) is pronounced as [] but not /; 찰나 (moment) is pronounced as [] but not /, and 결단력 (the strength of one’s mind or determination) is pronounced as [kyOl.ddan.nyOk] but not /kyOl.tan.lyOk/. Nevertheless, it is not clear at all when /l/ is assimilated to /n/ and /n/ to /l/ and also why /n/ undergoes both progressive and regressive lateral assimilations but /l/ only permits progressive nasal assimilation. In order to answer these questions, experiments are conducted through collecting phonemes from the extracted nouns with /n.l/ and /l.n/ produced by native Korean speakers, followed by data analysis to find the dominant pronunciation pattern. Furthermore, the phonological phenomena generalized will then be explained based on previous studies of similar topics. Results of our study show that only Sino Korean compound words with /n.l/ undergo progressive nasal assimilation, whereas Sino Korean non-compound words with /n.l/ undergo regressive lateral assimilation. All the words with /l.n/ undergo progressive lateral assimilation and no phonological change is found in foreign words in either /l.n/ or /n.l/ sequence.
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