Phonetic Realization of Contrastive Focus in Korean

Yong-cheol Lee, Yi Xu, University of Pennsylvania

It has been observed that a focused item in Korean is by and large realized with higher pitch, longer duration and greater intensity. But it is not fully clear how much focus affects the pre-focus and post-focus regions. The present study examines the full scale of focus effect in Korean in pre-focus, on-focus and post-focus words. Results show that focused words have significantly increased F0, duration and intensity, post-focus words have significantly reduced F0, duration and intensity, but pre-focus words lack systematic changes in any of these parameters. Thus Korean seems to resemble languages like English and Mandarin that exhibit post-focus compression (PFC), but differ from Taiwanese and Cantonese where PFC has been found to be absent. Index Terms: pre-focus, on-focus, post-focus, duration, F0, intensity, post-focus compression, PFC