What features underline the /s/ vs. /s’/ contrast in Korean?

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This paper is concerned with how the Korean lenis and fortis fricatives /s, s’/ are laryngeally specified. Based on the sound patterning of the fricatives as well as recent phonetic studies (H. Kim et al. 2008, 2010b; H. Kim & Park 2010), we propose that both of the voiceless fricatives are specified for the feature [-spread glottis] and that they are different in terms of the feature [tense]: the lenis /s/ is specified as [-tense] and the fortis /s’/ as [+tense], like lenis and fortis stops (H. Kim 2003, 2005; H. Kim et al. 2005, 2010a). It is also proposed that the fortis /s’/ is distinguished from the lenis /s/ by the feature [tense] and not by a timing slot in phonetics and phonology. Keywords: Korean lenis and fortis fricatives; [spread glottis]; [tense]


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