The Korean Association for the Study of English Language and Linguistics

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Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 20

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Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 20, No. 1, pp.20-41
Abbreviation: KASELL
ISSN: 1598-1398 (Print)
Print publication date 31 Mar 2020
Received 07 Feb 2020 Revised 10 Mar 2020 Accepted 20 Mar 2020

Production and Perception of Phonetic Variations across English Word Boundaries by Korean EFL Learners
Hye-Young Um
Myongji University

Copyright 2020 KASELL
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The present study aimed to investigate whether and how Korean L2 English learners’ verbal productions of near-homophonous phrases (e.g., keeps parking vs. keep sparking; seen either vs. see neither) are distinctively perceived by native speakers of English. It also examined whether and how Korean learners correctly perceive the native speaker’s production of those near-homophonous phrases. For both correct production and perception, utilizing acoustic-phonetic information such as aspiration and glottal stop is necessary to signal and identify word boundary within a phrase. Twenty Korean college EFL learners participated in the production and perception experiments. The results showed: 1) Korean learners’ production of the phrases that necessitate a positive phonetic cue (e.g., keeps parking) was more difficult for native English speakers to correctly perceive; 2) Korean learners’ production of aspiration type was more difficult to be correctly perceived than the other types; and 3) Korean learners had difficulty in perceiving the aspiration type phrases and the phrases that do not have positive phonetic cues, although they were generally very good at the perception task. Possible sources for Korean learners’ difficulty in producing positive phonetic cues were discussed.

Keywords: word boundaries, segmentation, phonetic variations, phonetic cues, production, perception, aspiration, glottal stop, second language

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Um, Hye-Young, ProfessorMyongji UniversityBangmok College of General Education116 Myongji-ro, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-siGyeonggi-do, 17058, KoreaTel: 031-330-6264E-mail: