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University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics

Abstract

We investigate to what extent North Korean refugee (NK) speakers shift their stop production across topic and stance in conversational speech. The twenty-two NK speakers (F:16, M:6) were engaged in a sociolinguistic interview. A total of 5042 stops were identified and analyzed for VOT and F0 in the following vowel. Stops in the sociolinguistic interview data were coded for topic-stance: contingent upon the topic, North (NK) or South Korean (SK) related topics, they responded with a positive, negative, or neutral stance. Based on previous findings, we predicted that NK speakers would produce more SK-like stops when speaking about South Korea with a positive stance (Nycz 2018). Results of mixed-effects models showed that the NK speakers produced more SK-like stops in terms of VOT when talking about NK and SK topics with emotional stance (negative and positive). This is inconsistent with the idea that speaking about the second dialect region with a positive stance typically results in more second dialect-like speech (Nycz 2018). Unlike the VOT results, the NK F0 patterns were consistent across topic-stance. We interpreted that the consistent F0 patterns might be due to prosodic mitigation (Idemaru et al. 2019, Hübscher et al. 2017). Given that speakers tend not to fluctuate F0 in polite speech, the NK speakers might also try to speak more politely because the NK speakers communicated with an unfamiliar SK interviewer (the first author), using honorific speech forms. Taken together, the findings show NK speakers' mixed pattern of stop productions across topic-stance. Effects of interlocutor and speech address form can be examined in order to further shed light on the complex pattern in a future study.

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