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Phonetic variability and grammatical knowledge: an articulatory study of Korean place assimilation*

  • Alexei Kochetov (a1) and Marianne Pouplier (a2)

The study reported here uses articulatory data to investigate Korean place assimilation of coronal stops followed by labial or velar stops, both within words and across words. The results show that this place-assimilation process is highly variable, both within and across speakers, and is also sensitive to factors such as the place of articulation of the following consonant, the presence of a word boundary and, to some extent, speech rate. Gestures affected by the process are generally reduced categorically (deleted), while sporadic gradient reduction of gestures is also observed. We further compare the results for coronals to our previous findings on the assimilation of labials, discussing implications of the results for grammatical models of phonological/phonetic competence. The results suggest that speakers' language-particular knowledge of place assimilation has to be relatively detailed and context-sensitive, and has to encode systematic regularities about its obligatory/variable application as well as categorical/gradient realisation.

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