Oh, Young-il. 2018. Phonetic Realization of a Function Word ‘to’ As a Function of its Syntactic Head. English Language and Linguistics 24.2, 47-61.
This study investigates the phonetic variation of the English word ‘to’ as a function of its syntactic head status. There are several factors which influence the phonetic
realization of segments or words such as position in an utterance, phrasal accent, and word class. However, it has not been investigated how words, specifically
function words, are phonetically differently manifested depending on their syntactic head status. Based on the seven-year (2011 to 2017) English listening data
of College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT), the effects of syntactic head on the phonetic realization of the English function word ‘to’ were investigated. Five
acoustic measurements of duration, F1, F2, intensity, and fundamental frequency (F0) were compared between the lexical head ‘to’ (i.e., preposition ‘to’) and the
functional head ‘to’ (i.e., inflection ‘to’). Results show that the phonetic manifestations of the function word ‘to’ are sensitive to its syntactic head status
as a lexical or functional head, and that the syntactic head effect is mostly found in terms of duration and F1.
Key words: phonetic realization, syntactic head, function word, lexical head, functional head, CSAT