I attended InterSpeech 2016 in San Francisco, California, in September, with my colleague and 2nd presenter, Minsook Kim. We presented our research entitled “Hyper-articulate production of Korean glides by age group”. InterSpeech is the one of the largest conferences in the area of phonetics and we were surprised to see that there were a lot of research presentations from industry, such as from Google, Yahoo, Intel, Facebook, and so on, and that all were about language and linguistic communication in this modern era.
We presented a phonetic analysis of issues surrounding Korean glides triggered by the diachronic sound change of some Korean vowels. Although the phonetic descriptions of the corresponding glides are mixed in Korean language textbooks and online resources (and presumably in classroom teaching as well), there has been little phonetic study on this inquiry. Therefore, we examined the clear speech effect of Korean glides with consideration of speakers’ age based on the “Hyper and Hypo” theory (Lindblom, 1990). The results showed the strong clear speech effects in Korean glides as predicted. However, no phonetic evidence was found for the difference between “wae [wE]” and “oe [we]” in terms of acoustic cues (i.e., first frequency and second frequency), even in clear speech. Also, no systematic difference of age group depending on vowel type was found. Therefore, we argue that the diachronic sound merge between “wae [wE]” and “oe [we]” is now completed even in the Seoul area and for older groups. We provide evidence that there is discrepancy between transcription of Korean glides in textbooks and actual production in native Korean speakers. Thus, this current merge should be addressed when teaching Korean glides.
We are always deeply grateful to the BLC for providing funding us to attend conferences. Thank you very much again for your financial support, BLC!