Pitch-Pattern Diffusion of Generational Tone Change in North Kyungsang Korean English Loanwords
Received: Feb 21, 2019 ; Revised: Apr 09, 2019 ; Accepted: Apr 12, 2019
Published Online: Apr 30, 2019
North Kyungsang (NK) Korean is a pitch accent language that uses both high and low tones. NK Korean permits only one accented syllable in a single prosodic word; therefore, if an accented stem is combined with an accented suffix, one of the underlying accents must be deleted. According to traditional observations, NK English loanwords always maintain their stem accent, unlike NK native words. However, our recent observations reveal that this unique loanword pattern seems to be changing, especially among the younger generations. To determine the existence of this suffixal tonal change, a production task was conducted with younger and older speakers of NK Korean. The results reveal that a pitch-pattern diffusion is in progress across the board in final accented NK English loanwords when combined with an accented suffix. Such loanwords seem to be losing their unique tone patterns and nativizing their suffixal accent. Although the diffusion is occurring in both younger and older speakers, the degree of diffusion differs and is quite patterned, based on the speakers’ age as well as the number of syllables and syllable structure of the words.