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Linguistics Vanguard

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A two-decade-interval variation in vowel insertion after word-final English and French postvocalic plosives in Korean adaptation: A sociolinguistic account

Hyunsoon Kim
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  • Department of English, Hongik University, Wausanlo 94, Mapo-gu, Seoul 04066, Republic of Korea
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Published Online: 2017-08-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2016-0076


We investigated whether variation in vowel insertion after word-final English and French postvocalic plosives in Korean adaptation has changed at a two-decade interval by collecting English and French loanword data in the early 1990s and the year 2011. Our data survey has revealed that the overall frequency of final vowel insertion and that of variable insertion and/or no vowel insertion are significantly decreased and increased, respectively, in the 2011 data, no matter whether the plosives are English or French. The data survey is supported by a recent perception study wherein young Koreans have no difference in vowel insertion after English and French plosives, regardless of whether they are released or not, compared to old Koreans. Based on these results, we propose that more direct contact with English than two decades ago has led to more exposure to its spoken usages and that less direct contact with French has led word-final French postvocalic plosives to be perceived more like their English counterparts in vowel insertion by Koreans. It is concluded that the present study suggests the role of sociolinguistic environments over time in loanword adaptation.

Keywords: diachronic variation; Korean adaptation; sociolinguistic environments; vowel insertion


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About the article

Received: 2015-12-08

Accepted: 2016-10-03

Published Online: 2017-08-01

This work is supported by a 2014 Hongik University Research Fund.

Citation Information: Linguistics Vanguard, Volume 3, Issue 1, 20160076, ISSN (Online) 2199-174X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2016-0076.

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