Asymmetries are beginning to attract serious attention in linguistics. Whether structural, functional or otherwise, they are closely related to the notion 'markedness' or 'naturalness' in language, and are expected to reveal fundamental properties and principles of language structure. With this general trend in mind, this paper attempts to provide an overview of various kinds of phonological asymmetries observed in Japanese and other languages. While positional and directional asymmetries are well documented in the literature, other types of asymmetries have not received the sufficient attention that they deserve. This paper classifies these asymmetries into several types and describes their implications for phonological studies.
The phonological processes of mimetics have a close relationship to sound-symbolic, or iconic effects that accompany the segmental structure of mimetic forms. While iconicity is one of the most conspicuous properties of phonological processes underlying mimetic expressions, some of the phonological processes of mimetics show consistent and systematic patterns which cannot be explained other than with reference to the general grammar of a language. This article accounts for some of the asymmetries found in mimetic phonology in Japanese. The phonological asymmetry that emerges in the phonological patterns of mimetics frequently reflects a contrast between marked and unmarked structures observed in phonological processes that generate mimetics. Here we concern ourselves with three types of asymmetries, the first two of which relate to issues in segmental phonology: "Coronal syndrome" and rhotic exclusion - particularly focusing on the process of palatalization - and the asymmetry found in voicing patterns. In addition to these two issues of segmental phonology, we analyze syllable structure in the intensified forms of mimetics and discuss their prosodic asymmetry.
This article primarily surveys several phenomena that are derived from the asymmetry between CjV and CwV in the Japanese language: the historical processes of Sino-Japanese forms CjV and CwV, the vowel coalescences of Vu and Vi (iu, eu vs. ui, oi), the contracted forms having CjV, etc. Secondly, we discuss the relationship between the asymmetry of the two medial approximants j, w and the characteristics of the Japanese vowel system that give rise to another asymmetry between palatalization and labialization. Finally, we mention residual issues on the asymmetry of two medials, mimetic expressions having medial j and w, the history of the w-consonant, and so on.
The glottal opening pattern during /CVC/ (voiceless consonant- vowel- voiceless consonant) sequences was examined using photoelectric glottography (PGG). The subject was a male speaker of Osaka dialect whose devoicing rate is less frequent than speakers of Tokyo dialect (standard Japanese). Results revealed that, for many of the devoiced tokens, the glottal opening showed a bimodal pattern, i.e. two independent openings, each corresponding to a voiceless consonant overlapping with each other and accompanied by a closing movement in between. This pattern differs from the mono-modal pattern for the Tokyo speakers in previous studies, in which higher level control of speech production is presumably involved. This suggests that the devoicing of the Osaka speaker in question is not controlled by a categorically-determined command such as phonological rules. The results also demonstrated that the degree of glottal opening was greater for fricatives than for stops, and in word initial than in word medial position. This is consistent with previous studies, suggesting that these features are common to Tokyo and Osaka speakers.
The aim of this paper is to investigate the acoustic characteristics of two types of Korean fricatives called "lax" and "forced". The acoustic characteristics of each type were observed with a sound-spectrograph. Both types of the fricatives showed high frequency components higher than 5000Hz from the onset through the midpoint of their frictional period. At the end of the frictional period, the lax type showed frequency components as low as the F2 and/or F3 of the following vowel, while the forced type tended to retain higher frequency components. However, our data suggested this tendency alone might not differentiate these two fricatives. We observed the above acoustic characteristics in all the phonotactically possible environments that the two fricatives can occupy.
Two experiments succeeded in proving the effect of Time Order Error (TOE, Woodrow 1951) on perception of Japanese geminated consonants. Test words considered to evoke the TOE were synthesized by adding a short syllable ba to the bisyllabic control word baba. In Experiment 1, the test word bababa had a short-long timing structure among three ba syllables, which was considered to lower the perceptual threshold of geminate consonants. Fundamental frequencies of the same test words were manipulated in Experiment 2. The result indicated that stepped pitch counteracted the effect of TOE.