4th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Philadelphia, PA, USA
October 3-6, 1996

Experimental Phonetic Study of the Syllable Duration of Korean with Respect to the Positional Effect

Hyunbok Lee (1), Cheol-jae Seong (2)

(1) Department of Linguistics, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
(2) Spoken Language Processing Section, Electronics & Telecommunications, Research Institute, Taejon, Korea

The aim of this paper is to describe the prosodic structure of Korean related to the syllable duration varying with its positional difference. An attempt is made in this study to ananlyze and describe the concrete correlation between the syllable lengthening and its position in the utterance at the initial and final positions. Using the syllable [na] at the final and initial position of a prosodic phrase in the Korean version of 'the North Wind and the Sun', it has found that the ratio of phrase final versus phrase initial syllable lengthening was approximately 1.8:1 for 4 subjects taking part in the test. In the case of nonsense data, we found that the ratio was approximately 1.6:1 for 2 out of 3 subjects. The results of this study might indicate that Korean tends to have a high rate of final lengthening. We can tentatively classify it, therefore, as a stress-timed language. Still, there is no denying that further studies should be done before we can be absolutely certain about the classification of languages along the dichotomy scale.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Lee, Hyunbok / Seong, Cheol-jae (1996): "Experimental phonetic study of the syllable duration of Korean with respect to the positional effect", In ICSLP-1996, 1193-1196.