The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Phonology Circle 10/30 - Michael Kenstowicz (MIT)

Speaker: Michael Kenstowicz (MIT)
Title: The Accent of Surnames in Kyengsang Korean: A Study in Analogy
Date/Time: Monday, October 30th, 5:00-6:30pm 
Location: 32-D831
(Joint work with Hyang-Sook Sohn)

The canonical Korean name consists of a monosyllabic surname followed by a disyllabic given name: Kim, Yu-na. The surname is normally not used alone and must be combined with a given name or title. As a result, underlying contrasts among high, low, and rising accents are partially neutralized in this phrasal context. This presentation reports and analyzes the tonal contours that arise when Kyengsang speakers are tasked with inflecting the surname by itself (Kim, Yu-na -> Kim, Kim-i, Kim-ɨl, etc.)—a type of wug-test. The results suggest that speakers take recourse to the most reliable rules underlying the lexical distribution of the accents relative to specific strata of the lexicon as well as to default rules of word-level inflection.