Vowel Harmony Redux: Correct Sounds, English Loan Words, and the Sociocultural Life of a Phonological Structure in Korean

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Vowel Harmony Redux: Correct Sounds, English Loan Words, and the Sociocultural Life of a Phonological Structure in Korean

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Title: Vowel Harmony Redux: Correct Sounds, English Loan Words, and the Sociocultural Life of a Phonological Structure in Korean
Author: Harkness, Nicholas H.
Citation: Harkness, Nicholas H. 2012. “Vowel harmony redux: Correct sounds, English loan words, and the sociocultural life of a phonological structure in Korean.” Journal of Sociolinguistics 16 (3) (June 20): 358-381. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9841.2012.00536.x.
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Abstract: This paper examines an ideology of standard pronunciation and spelling of English loan words in South Korea through the lens of Korean vowel harmony. I focus specifically on the alternation between an older Japanese-style ‘a’[a] and a newer Korean-style ‘ŏ’[ɔ] for the mapping of mid-vowels from English to Korean. The opposition between ‘a’ and ‘ŏ’ also figures into the dichotomy of vowel classes between ‘yang’ or ‘light’ vowels and ‘yin’ or ‘dark’ vowels in Korean vowel harmony. This opposition is pervasive in Korean's rich stock of denotationally iconic words (e.g. onomatopoeia), where ablaut between vowel classes produces semantic and pragmatic contrasts. I suggest that this latter structure of phonological opposition has an influence on speakers’ perceptions of vowel difference and associated values in English loan words, despite an overarching ideology of standard pronunciation that is based on assumptions about phonetic fidelity.
Published Version: doi:10.1111/j.1467-9841.2012.00536.x
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33725224
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