Volume 18, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0257-3784
  • E-ISSN: 2212-9731



This study aims to identify the acoustic and perceptual properties that contribute to identifying the meaning of Korean sentences that are ambiguous between -question and yes-no question readings. While in most cases the Accentual Phrase (AP) tonal pattern (Jun 1993) differs between the two question readings, there are cases where the two readings are predicted to have the same AP tonal pattern. However, our experimental results indicate that even in those cases a typical AP tonal contrast between the two question interpretations, i.e. the presence vs. absence of the tone in the syllable that immediately follows the -word, is observed in production and plays a meaningful role in perception. The results suggest that there is a production and processing strategy to utilize a consistent contrast in accentual phrasing between the two types of questions for disambiguation.

Available under the CC BY-NC 4.0 license.

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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): ambiguity; intonation; wh-indeterminates; wh-questions
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