Vol. 71 No. 2 (2023): NAMES: A Journal of Onomastics

Monosyllabic Affective Hypocoristics of Korean Names: Formation and Segmental Alternation

Hayeun Jang

Published 2023-06-08


  • hypocoristic,
  • Korea,
  • given name,
  • sound symbolism,
  • phonology,
  • edge anchoring
  • ...More


In this paper, I investigate the formation and phonological alternations of Korean monosyllabic hypocoristics that are used without a vocative marker. Korean monosyllabic hypocoristics are the result of truncation and merging. The study showed that the inclination to keep the second syllable is more pronounced in truncated forms. The most common type of merging is ‘onset of 1st syllable + rhyme of 2nd syllable’. This illustrates the symmetrical base anchoring template, in which the template’s edges are anchored to the base’s right and left edges. The phonological alternations that Korean monosyllabic hypocoristics go through include tensification of obstruents, stopping of plain fricative or affricate, nasal velarization, nasal insertion, vowel rounding, vowel simplification, and palatal glide insertion before a vowel. Consonantal alternations over vocalic alternations seem to be preferred. All of the segmental alternations are present in the Aegyo speech register.


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