Kim, Kyunghee (2014). Tone, pitch accent and intonation of Korean. A synchronic and diachronic view. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.


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Intonation of Seoul Korean is noted for the division of utterances into Accentual Phrases (AP). These have a comparable function to stress and accent in languages like English and German. Accentual phrasing (and dephrasing) distinguishes a verb and verb phrase, e.g., [tsal]AP [motʰada]AP ‘cannot do well’, ‘(be) not good at’ and [ʰa.da]AP ‘to err’. It also creates the contrasts between broad and narrow focus, analogously to accenting and deaccenting. Nonetheless, it has not yet been satisfactorily explained why accentual phrasing has such functions, and issues are left to be dealt with regarding the representation and realisation of AP tones. Clues may well lie in the history of Korean language. There is evidence that Seoul intonation evolved from the sequences of lexical tones in Middle Korean, suggesting that the process of tonal loss should shed some lights on the structure and representation of the present-day Seoul intonation. We follow the process reflected in literary works in Middle Korean, in which tone was transcribed, and the tone (or pitch accent) dialects of Kyungsang, so as to provide a sketch of how Middle Korean lexical tones were reorganised into the tonal events of intonation. We assume that tones are reflected in F0 peaks and valleys, or turning points, in F0 contours. Under this assumption, we identified the tones that minimally constitute an AP. We also investigated the function(s) and structure(s) of the AP tones by examining the scaling and alignment characteristics of F0 turning points and the factors affecting them. Based on the outcome of the investigation, we propose a new analysis of Korean intonation. We define an AP in terms of a LH phrase accent, which is associated with the AP initial syllable with a melodic unit structure. An Intermediate Phrase and Intonation Phrase, respectively, is defined by a boundary tone which demarcates the end of a phrase.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Kim, Kyungheekim_kyunghee@icloud.comUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-57543
Date: 6 September 2014
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Fächergruppe 1: Kunstgeschichte, Musikwissenschaft, Medienkultur und Theater, Linguistik, IDH > Institut für Linguistik > Phonetik
Subjects: Language, Linguistics
Uncontrolled Keywords:
tone, pitch accent, intonation, Korean, intonational phonology, phoneticsEnglish
Date of oral exam: 4 November 2013
NameAcademic Title
Grice, MartineProf. Dr.
Baumann, StefanDr.
Refereed: Yes


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