When an English word with a postvocalic word-final stop is adapted to Korean, a vowel is variably inserted after the final stop. Vowel insertion in this position is puzzling not only because of its variability but also because of the fact that it is not motivated by the native phonology in any obvious way. After providing a thorough description of the vowel-insertion pattern on the basis of a survey of a large body of data, the paper proposes that vowel insertion is motivated to improve the perceptual similarity between the English input and the Korean output as well as to obey a morphophonemic restriction in Korean. The paper provides strong evidence that non-contrastive phonetic details of lending or borrowing languages are relevant in the process of loanword adaptation and at the same time suggests a richer view of loanword phonology, one which involves interaction of phonetic, phonemic and morphophonemic factors.
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