S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 52 Number 1/3 (2016)
A Lexicon and Behavioral Study on the Status of the Syllable in Japanese
- Lee, Yongeun
- Issue Date
- Language Research, Vol.52 No.1, pp. 115-137
- Labrune (2012) recently proposed that the moras are not the immediate constituent of the syllable but of the foot in Japanese. This contradicts with more traditional models of Japanese prosody that acknowledge the presence of the syllable inside the foot. Labrunes proposal is important given the prevalent assumption in the literature that the syllable is a prosodic unit present in all languages (Selkirk 1984). The present study further explored the nature of the prosodic structure in Japanese. The result from a statistical analysis of distributions of segments within the bisyllabic words in Japanese was consistent with prosodic structures where the onset consonant is not directly linked to the syllable node in Japanese. A speeded word-repetition experiment indicated that a mora type undergoes some forms of changes more often when they are positioned lower in the mora hierarchy. Specifically, the lower a mora class is positioned in the mora hierarchy, the more likely it undergoes changes in productions. Discussions of the current findings are provided to the effect that positing the syllable unit in Japanese phonology may not be necessary, lending further indirect support for the prosodic model of Japanese along the line of Labrune (2012).