On the relation between speech perception and loanword adaptation: Cross-linguistic perception of Korean-illicit word-medial clusters

Robert Daland, Mira Oh, Lisa Davidson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Loanword adaptation has been claimed to provide a unique window onto the relation between speech perception and the phonological grammar. This paper focuses on whether the ‘illusory vowel’ effect—in which the presence/absence of a vowel is poorly discriminated within an illicit cluster—is sufficient to explain why vowel epenthesis is the preferred repair for medial clusters in Korean loanword adaptation. A cross-linguistic discrimination experiment revealed a causative role of the stop release burst (or other audible frication noise) in the perception of an illusory vowel; in some cases, perception alone explains vowel epenthesis in loanword adaptation. A follow-up, identification experiment showed that Koreans’ perceptual similarity judgements do not match up with the adaptation pattern for stop-nasal clusters (e.g. pakna), although they do for fricative-stop and stop-stop clusters (e.g. paska, pakta). This finding is problematic for a purely perceptual account of loanword adaptation. The paper sketches a Bayesian account of Korean speech perception that integrates top-down phonotactic likelihood and bottom-up acoustic match and is able to explain the experimental results. It closes with some speculation on the role of the Preservation Principle versus perception in loanword adaptation.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)825-868
    Number of pages44
    JournalNatural Language and Linguistic Theory
    Volume37
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

    Keywords

    • Bayesian
    • Korean
    • Loanword phonology
    • Phonotactics
    • Speech perception

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Linguistics and Language

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