S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 22 Number 1/4 (1986)
The Inflecting Stems of Proto-Korean
- Ramsey, S. Robert
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.22 No.2, pp.183-194
- The proto forms of Korean verbs are reconstructed through the method of internal reconstruction, supplemented by comparative evidence from the modern dialects.
According to the hypothesis developed in this paper, Proto-Korean had no pitch, length, or stress distinctions. Instead, the last syllable of a word or morpheme was automatically given prominence. The complex pitch system found at the Middle Korean stage of the language, as well as the pitch accent systems found in a number of modern dialects, developed as a result of changes that took place in the segmentals.
The principal change in the segmentals was vowel syncope, which produced consonant clusters. Aspirated consonants developed from clusters containing a velar obstruent. In addition, voiced obstruents lenited, and in later stages of Korean the distinctive feature of voicing was eventually lost.