Truncation in message-oriented phonology: A case study using Korean vocative truncation

Shigeto Kawahara, Seunghun J. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper analyzes the vocative truncation pattern in Korean from the viewpoint of Message-Oriented Phonology (MOP), which capitalizes on the idea that sound patterns are governed by a principle that makes message transfer effective. In the traditional naming pattern, Korean first names consist of a generation marker and a unique portion, and the order between these two elements alternates between generations. To derive vocative forms, the generation marker is truncated, and the suffixal [(j)a] is attached to the unique portion. We argue that MOP naturally predicts this type of truncation. As the generation marker is shared by all the members of the same generation, the generation marker is highly predictable and hence does not reduce uncertainty about the intended message. To achieve effective communication, predictable portions are deleted. Our analysis implies that MOP is relevant not only to phonetic implementation patterns, but also to morphophonological patterns. It also provides support for MOP based on data from a non-Indo-European language. Finally, we aim to integrate insights of MOP with a more formal proposal like Optimality Theory, by relating the predictability of a contrast to the ranking of the faithfulness constraint that it protects, following the spirit of the P-map hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20170016
JournalLinguistics Vanguard
Issue numbers2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Korean
  • faithfulness
  • morphophonology
  • predictability
  • truncation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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