Government Relations in Korean Phonology

H. Park, 1996

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One goal of linguistic theory is to uncover universal principles which constrain the class of attainable grammars. Recent work in phonology has pursued this goal in terms of the principles and parameters framework. One line of this work is found in Government Phonology (Kaye, Lowenstamm & Vergnaud, 1985 and 1990), where it is proposed that syllables are bound together in terms of government. This thesis explores phonological phenomena in Korean such as tensing, neutralization, voicing, umlaut and palatalization within Government phonology, to test its proposals and extend its coverage to a new range of data.

In the testing of hypotheses within this theory, the analysis of Korean exposes problems pertaining to the Projection Principle of Government Theory, which requires that government is defined in lexical representations and remains constant throughout a derivation. However, in Korean, government appears to be established during the derivation. It does not hold in lexical representation. I raise the question of whether Government Theory requires the Projection Principle and explore replacing it with a derivational account of government. Reconsidering the analysis of Tigrinya which motivates the Projection Principle, I argue that it does no work there. I then investigate how a derivational account of government handles the Korean phenomena.

The second issue of this thesis is how we can account for phonological derivations in a principled way within Government Theory. In Harris' (1990) theory of segmental complexity, where the ultimate constituents of segments are unary elements, alternation is given by two operations: composition and decomposition. However, Harris does not explain why one applies rather than the other when either can achieve a government relation, nor can he predict how many internal elements, or which ones, are affected by any operation. To address this issue, I extend lexical representations in the Government framework along the lines of the Markedness Theory approach (Michaels 1989) and use economy (Chomsky 1991, 1993 and Chomsky & Lasnik 1991) to choose between derivations. Markedness Theory accounts for why operations affect certain elements. Economy explains why a specific government relation is established when more than one such relation is possible.


Chapter 1. Introduction 1

Chapter 2. Some Linguistic Phenomena in Korean and Earlier Treatments

2.1. Obscurant Phenomena Between Verb Stem and Ending in Korean          6

     2.1.1. Korean Consonant Inventory                                                               6

     2.1.2. Tensing, Neutralization, and Voicing Phenomena in Korean           9

     2.1.3. Consonant Cluster Simplification                                                          16

2.2. Umlaut and Palatalization                                                                                 24

     2.2.1. Korean Vowel Inventory                                                                         24

     2.2.2. Umlaut and Palatalization in Rule-based Framework                          25

     2.2.3. The Analyses of Umlaut and Palatalization in Feature Geometry    28

 Autosegmental. Phonology                                                            28

 Overview of Feature Geometry                                                      31

 Hume's (1990) Analysis and Its problem                                       35


Chapter: 3. An Analysis of Korean Linguistic Phenomena in terms of Government

3.1. A Theory of Government in Phonology                                                       43

     3.1.1. Theoretical Background: Prosodic Government                                  43

     3.1.2 . Phonological Government                                                                      46 Charm Theory                                                                                   48

 Proper Government and Empty Category Principle                     50

 Coda Licensing Principle                                                                 52

 Projection Principle                                                                           55

 Interconstituent Government between Two Obstruents            58


3.2. An Analysis of Korean Linguistic Phenomena in terms of Government  59

     3.2.1. An Analysis of Obscurant phenomena                                               59

     3.2.2. Segmental Complexity and Phonological Government                      64

 Internal Representation of Segments in Government Theory   64

     Internal Representation of Vowels                                         64

     Internal Representation of Consonants                                 69

 Segmental Complexity                                                                      70

     3.2.3. Analyses of Korean Linguistic Phenomena                                         74

 The Representation of Segments in Korean                                 74

 Analyses of Tensing and Neutralization Phenomena                 75

 Analysis of the Consonant Cluster Simplification Phenomenon        81

    Government Licensing Theory                                               81

     Analysis of Korean Consonant Cluster Simplification       81

 Analysis of the Umlaut and Palatalization                                    91



Chapter 4. Proposed Analysis in Extended Government Phonology               102

4.1. The Theoretical Background for the Proposed Analysis                           103

     4.1.1. Syllable Structure Approach                                                                 103

     4.1.2. Minimalist Approach                                                                               109

4.2. Proposed Analyses                                                                                           112

     4.2.1. An Analysis of Tensing and the Neutralization                                  112

     4.2.2. An Analysis of Intersonorant Voicing                                                 120

     4.2.3. An Analysis of Consonant Cluster Simplification                              123

 Prince & Smolensky's Nuclear Harmony Constraint                   126

 Hong's Sonority Analysis                                                              129

 An Analysis of Consonant Cluster Simplification                     130

     4.2.4. Residual Cases                                                                                          147

     4.2.5. Umlaut and Palatalization                                                                       154

Chapter 5. Conclusion and Implication                                                                177