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Heo, Yong (1994) Empty categories and Korean phonology. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis discusses the behaviour of empty nuclei in Korean. The theory of Charm and Government is the framework on which my analysis is based. GP claims that a nucleus which dominates a vowel that regularly undergoes elision in specific contexts is underlyingly empty. Whether or not an empty nucleus is realised phonetically is not a question of representation, but is a question of interpretation. In the first chapter, I present the relevant facts involving word (or domain)-internal empty nuclei. [i]-zero alternation in verbal suffixation is also shown in this chapter. In the second chapter, I discuss the syllable structure of Korean. I propose that the rhyme does not branch in this language. Following this, an apparent consonant cluster is in fact separated by an empty nucleus. This is followed by the third and fourth chapters with the consideration of domain-internal and final empty nuclei in Korean. I show that the domain-final empty nucleus in Korean is licensed. A domain-internal empty nucleus may or may not be phonetically interpreted depending on proper government and inter-onset government. The properties of domain-final empty nuclei in Korean are discussed in the fifth chapter. We will see that domain-final empty nuclei in Korean do not have government-licensing properties. As for the apparent exceptional cases where [i] is pronounced in domain-final position, I account for these with evidence that they are morphologically complex. In the final chapter, I discuss [i]-zero alternation in verbal and nominal suffixations. In the case of nominal suffixation, [i]-zero alternation between the stem and suffix is exactly the same as in morphologically simplex words, thus, is accounted for by proper government and interonset government. On the other hand, [i]-zero alternation in verbal suffixation is somewhat different from that in morphologically simplex words.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:09

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