Korean Historical Linguistics
  • ISSN 0257-3784
  • E-ISSN: 2212-9731
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The Korean Vowel Shift hypothesis (KVS) has been one of the most firmly entrenched tenets of Korean historical phonology since the 1960s, despite a number of published critiques from both theoretical and empirical standpoints. This paper aims to end the controversy over the KVS by demonstrating that the Mongolian loanwords, the purported primary philological evidence for the shift, do not support the KVS hypothesis. The reason for this is that the Old Mongolian vowel system that provided the source for the loans was almost certainly based on an RTR contrast, rather than the palatal contrast assumed by the KVS.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Korean Vowel Shift; Mongolic Vowel Shift; palatal harmony; RTR harmony
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