S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 15 Number 1/2 (1979)
Tone and Length
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.15 No.2, pp. 123-139
- It was generally revealed in Middle Korean (MK) texts that a syllable with a rising
tone (i.e. sang song) had a domain of the length of two morae[ =a long vowel or a vowel cluster] in comparison with a low or high tone which usually had a domain of one mora each ( = a short vowel) . Modern Korean also shows a long vowel on a syllable marked with a rising tone in MK. This paper is designed to thoroughly check data for the line generalized above. There appear, against expectation, some exceptional cases of which MK forms were marked with rising tones but of which Modern Korean reflexes do not show any long vowel; e.g. at- 'to get', ku rm- 'to starve', nam- ' to remain', nim 'an 139 esteemed person', etc. These are very few in number but very significant.
There are some syllables which are classified as entering tones (i. e. ip song, because they end with -p, - t, or -k) although they are marked as rising tones: kZp 'silk gauze' , neit 'cereal grain', etc. As for the length in these syllables, it is believed that the marking as rising tones overrides the classification as entering tones. In other words, when the two tonal factors co occur, a marker of the vowel length (i.e. a rising tone) should be respected prior to a marker of the final consonant (i.e. an entering tone). Otherwise, one cannot explain why only some entering-toned syllables are marked with rising tones while others are not. Other evidence is the fact that both kip and nat' have long vowels in modern Korean.
It has also demonstrated that the so-called ' irregular' verbs must be explained in terms of vowel length as well as tones.