Speakers of tonal and non-tonal Korean dialects use different cue weightings in the perception of the three-way laryngeal stop contrast

Hyunjung Lee, Stephen James Politzer-Ahles, Allard Jongman

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The current study investigated the perception of the three-way distinction among Korean voiceless stops in non-tonal Seoul and tonal Kyungsang Korean. The question addressed is whether listeners from these two dialects differ in the way they perceive the three stops. Forty-two Korean listeners (21 each from Seoul and South Kyungsang) were tested in a perception experiment with stimuli in which VOT and F0 were systematically manipulated. Analyses of the perceptual identification functions show that VOT and F0 cues trade off each other for the perception of the three stops. However, the trading relationship differs between the two dialects. Logistic regression analyses confirmed the two dialects use the perceptual cues differently for the lenis and aspirated stops. While Seoul listeners rely primarily on F0 for making lenis responses and on VOT and F0 for aspirated responses, F0 plays a less important role in modulating both lenis and aspirated responses for Kyungsang than for Seoul listeners. It is proposed that different tonal systems between the two dialects and the ongoing diachronic sound change in the stops of Seoul Korean contribute to the inter-dialect difference in cue weighting for the three-way stop distinction. The results suggest that although the difference in phonology between the two dialects influences the phonetic realization, the phonetic trade-off among multiple cues allows each dialect to maintain the phonemic distinction in a unique way.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-132
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Phonetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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