In part 1 last month, I asked,
Was [the Middle Korean vowel] arae a (ㆍ) really arae o?

In other words, was the vowel written as a dot pronounced as [o]?

Arae a is no longer used in modern Korean orthography. In modern standard Korean, the vowel it once represented has merged with ㅏ [a] and ㅡ [ɯ], and, on rare occasions, ㅓ[ə] or even ㅗ [o] only before labial segments*:

Gloss Middle Korean Modern standard Korean Modern standard Korean spelling
other person nㆍm nam
earth hㆍrk- hɯk
discard pㆍri- pəri- 버리-
sleeve sㆍmaj- somɛ- 소매-

(2.13.00:23: Examples from Martin 1992: 42.)

Arae a is only retained in Cheju, where it is [ʌ] (Lee and Ramsey 2000) or [ɔ] (Yi 1978 and Martin 1992)**.

I have been reconstructing arae a as back unrounded [ʌ] for years. [ʌ] occupies a midpoint between the other five vowels (in bold)

central unrounded back unrounded back rounded
ɯ u
upper mid ə
lower mid
ʌ ɔ
low a

and could easily become any of them:

[ʌ] lowered to low central [a]

[ʌ] raised to high back [ɯ]

[ʌ] fronted to mid central [ə]

[ʌ] raised and rounded to upper mid back [o]

and in Cheju, [ʌ] either remained unchanged or rounded to lower mid back [ɔ]

Nonetheless, Kim-Renaud (2010) reconstructed arae a as back rounded [o] which is adjacent to the equivalents of those five vowels in her chart (in bold):

Central Back
High ɨ (= my u) u (= my o)
Mid ə (= my ɯ) o
Low ɑ (= my ə) ɔ (= my a)

(Note that Kim-Renaud uses ɑ for a low central unrounded vowel instead of a low back unrounded vowel.)

Next: Which reconstruction of arae a best accounts for 15th century hangŭl transcriptions of Old Ryukyuan?

*2.13.1:21: Arae a appears as [o] before as well as after labial segments (in bold) in other modern Korean dialects: e.g. (examples from Lee and Ramsey 2000: 319-320 and Martin 1992: 42),

Gloss Middle Korean Modern standard Korean Yukchin Phyŏng'an
horse mㆍr mal mol ?
other person nㆍm nam ? nom
divide nㆍnho- nanu- nonu-

**2.13.1:02: Oh Sang-suk, a native speaker of Cheju if I recall correctly, approvingly quoted Yi Sung-nyŏng's symbol [ɔ] for Cheju arae a in his 1998 paper.

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