The Effects of Phonetic Duration on Loanword Adaptation: Mandarin Falling Diphthong in Chinese Korean

Na-Young Ryu1, Yoonjung Kang2,3, Sungwoo Han4,
Author Information & Copyright
1Pennsylvania State University
2University of Toronto Scarborough
3University of Toronto
4Inha University
Corresponding Author: Professor Department of Korean Language and Literature Inha University 100 Inha-ro, Michuhol-gu, Incheon 22212, Korea , E-mail:

ⓒ Copyright 2020 Language Education Institute, Seoul National University. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Jul 04, 2020 ; Revised: Aug 20, 2020 ; Accepted: Aug 24, 2020

Published Online: Aug 31, 2020


This study examines how Mandarin falling sonority diphthongs are adapted to a Chinese Korean dialect. It investigates how the subtle phonetic conditions of the source language affect adaptation, and if and how those phonetic effects differ in established loanwords compared to the on-line adaptation of novel loan forms. We found that in this bilingual population, while the Mandarin diphthongs are usually adapted as monophthongs, obeying the native phonological restriction against falling diphthongs, the retention of the input diphthongs in violation of the native constraint is also quite common. Additionally, we found that the choice of the monophthong vs. diphthong realization is strongly affected by the input phonetic duration and in particular, the durational difference among the different tones is robustly reflected in the adaptation patterns.

Keywords: phonetic and phonological adaptation; loanwords; Mandarin falling diphthongs; Chinese Korean; tones



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