My main research interest lies in speech processing and production. More specifically I am interested in L1 & L2 spoken word recognition, prosody processing, phonetics & phonology interplay and articulation. I am currently a graduate student in the department of Linguistics at KU and work with Dr. Annie Tremblay in Second Language Processing and Eye-Tracking (L2 PET) lab. I speak Seoul Korean with some jargons that I mostly picked up from my mom. In my free time, I love reading books•cartoons, watching clay (or puppet) animations, and playing the guitar.




The Effect of Prosodic Structure in Lexical Access: An Investigation of Korean Denasalization

Seulgi Shin & Annie Tremblay

The present study investigates whether prosodic context modulates listeners’ interpretation of prosodically driven variations in lexical access. It does so by examining the recognition of words whose initial nasal consonant is denasalized in Korean. Nasals in Korean undergo nasal weakening in phrase-initial prosodic positions such as at the beginning of the Accentual phrase (AP). Because of this weakening, denasalized nasals share acoustic characteristics with both nasals and plosives (e.g., Chen & Clumeck, 1975; Cho & Keating, 2001; Yoshida, 2008). If Korean listeners exploit prosodic context in lexical access, they should activate nasal-initial words more when hearing denasalized nasals in AP-initial position than when hearing them in AP-medial position, and they should activate plosive-initial words more when hearing denasalized nasals in AP-medial position than when hearing them in AP-initial position. Participants completed two cross-modal priming experiments with lexical decision. The targets were visually presented Korean words beginning with a nasal (e.g., noru ‘roe deer’) (Experiment 1) or plosives (e.g., toru ‘stealing a base’) (Experiment 2). The experimental primes were auditory words that rhymed with the target but began with a denasalized nasal (e.g., /noru/); the control primes were auditory words that were phonologically and semantically unrelated to the target (e.g., /tʃotɛ/ ‘invitation’). The primes were heard in either AP-initial or AP-medial position. In Experiment 1, listeners showed sensitivity to prosodic context such that denasalized primes facilitated lexical decisions in relation to the control condition in AP-initial position but not in AP-medial position. Experiment 2 showed no effect of prosodic context or priming condition, indicating that listeners interpreted denasalized nasals differently from plosives in lexical access regardless of prosodic context (unlike previous offline studies). These results suggest that listeners take prosodic context into account and are sensitive to prosodically driven phonetic details in lexical access.

Effects of native language on the use of segmental and suprasegmental cues to stress in English word recognition: An eye-tracking study

Katrina Connell, Simone Hüls, Maria Teresa Martínez-García, Zhen Quin, Seulgi Shin, Hanbo Yan & Annie Tremblay

This study investigate whether the presence of lexical stress in the native language (L1) determines second-language (L2) learners' ability to use stress in L2 lexical access. It focuses on (standard Mandarin) Chinese and (Seoul) Korean listeners' (and native English listeners') use of segmental and suprasegmental cues to stress in English word recognition. Stress placement in English is signaled by segmental (vowel reduction) and suprasegmental (fundamental frequency, duration, and intensity) cues. Chienese has full-full and full-reduced words that differ in stress placement, with segmental and suprasegmental cues signaling stress. By contrast, Korean does not have lexical stress. Participants completed an eye-tracking experiment. They heard stimuli containing a target word with initial stress (parrot), and saw four orthographic words in the display, including the target and one of two competitors (stress match: parish ; stress mismatch: parade). The first syllable of the target and stress-mismatch competitor differed in both segmental and suprasegmental information (parrot=parade) or only in suprasegmental information (mystic-mistake). Growth-curve analyses on fixations revealed that Chinese listeners used stress to recognize English words. Korean listeners did not use stress in the recognition of English words, but made use of stress in the presence of vowel reduction, confirming L1 effects on the use of stress in L2 lexical access. Furthermore, English speakers used stress regardless of the presence or the absence of vowel reduction, but showed greater use of stress in the presence of vowel reduction.

What is special about prosodic strengthing in Korean: Evidence in lingual movement in V#V and V#CV

Seulgi Shin, Sahyang Kim & Taehong Cho

The present study investigates the effects of prosodic boundary and prominence (focus) on the /a/-to-/i/ tongue movement in Korean in two contexts: V#V and V#/m/V. The Electromagnetic Midsagittal Articulography (EMA) experiment was conducted. Results show that the tongue movement at an Intonational Phrase (IP) boundary is larger, longer and faster. The observed boundary-induced strengthening pattern in Korean is clearly different from that in English where the pie-gesture (Byrd, 2000; Byrd & Saltzman, 1998, 2003; Saltzman, 1995) is assumed to influence temporal realization of articulatory gestures at a prosodic juncture, slowing down the gestural movement. Korean, a language without constraints from the lexical stress system, has more freedom to strengthen articulation at prosodic junctures, creating strengthening patterns which are often encountered with prominence marking in English. Prominence effects show a relatively weaker but comparable pattern to the boundary effect, showing a larger, longer, and faster movement. The effect of boundary closely interacted with the effect of prominence in that the prominence effect was only found at a word boundary, suggesting the boundary effect largely took precedence over the prominence effect in Korean. Results also reveal that the presence of a consonant influences transboundary vocalic movement, and that the consonantal influence is further modulated by boundary strength. Those results show that the effects of boundary and prominence in Korean is systematically realized, reflecting the language-specific prosodic system and have further implications for the pi-gesture model.