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Word-final Syllabification in L2 Acquisition with Emphasis on Korean Learners of English
Heather Goad and Hyun-Sook Kang
122-129 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Phonological theory requires three options for the syllabification of singleton word-final consonants: coda (e.g. Japanese), onset of empty-headed syllable (OEHS) (e.g. Diola-Fogny), and onset-nuclear (ON) sharing (e.g. European French). In ON sharing, the melody of the final consonant, which is syllabified as an onset, has spread into the following empty nucleus. The general question that we address is: how do second language (L2) learners behave when confronted with a language where the syllabification options for final consonants differ from their L1? We focus on Korean learners of English. While Korean always syllabifies right-edge consonants as codas, English opts for a coda analysis for final consonants in CVC words and for an OEHS analysis for final consonants in CVVC words. Combined with certain properties of the Korean grammar, the evidence available from ambient English should point Korean learners toward an OEHS analysis for English for words of both shapes. Instead, intermediate learners prefer ON syllabification for both CVC and CVVC targets. Advanced learners maintain an ON analysis for CVVC targets but opt for a coda analysis for CVC. We argue that the observed preference for ON sharing is due to markedness: spreading the melody of the right-edge consonant from the onset into the following empty nucleus reflects the least marked syllabification option for final consonants, as it represents the best compromise between syllable structure well-formedness (both the onset and nucleus are filled) and faithfulness to the consonant-final input. The preference for ON is supported through data drawn from other populations of learners: from L1 learners of English, German and Quebec French, and from Italian, Japanese and Mandarin L2 learners of English.

Published in

Proceedings of the 6th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2002): L2 Links
edited by Juana M. Liceras, Helmut Zobl, and Helen Goodluck
Table of contents
Printed edition: $340.00