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Re: THEORY: YASPR -- Yet Another Swedish Pronunciation Rant (fuit: THEORY: NATLANGS: Phonology and Phonetics: Tetraphthongs, Triphthongs, Diphthongs)

From:Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>
Date:Friday, June 2, 2006, 13:09
Andreas Johansson skrev:
> Citerar Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>: > > >>Andreas Johansson skrev: >> >>>Citerar Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>: >>> >>> >>> >>>>I still don't think length is phonemic in Swedish >>> >>> >>>And I still find analyzing vocalic length as subphonemic >>>perverse. >> >>Hey, 'perverse' is a value judgment... > > > If native intuition isn't an argument, why don't we consider /h/ and /N/ the > same phoneme? > > Well, I suppose one can take two, at least, approaches to phonemic analysis. One > might try and come up with the most economical account of surface realizations, > native intuition be damned, and one may try and model what actually goes on the > speakers' mind. In the later case it would seem relevant if the speakers feel an > analysis is perverse.
The thing is that intuitions actually can change during a native speaker's lifetime -- my intuitions certainly aren't the same now as twenty years ago, mainly because I've studied phonetics and the history of the Scandinavian languages in the meantime, learning a bunch of new other languages certainly has influenced my evaluation of my L1 too -- and quite obviously different natives may have different intuitions as well. There is also the fact of the 'Lycksele syndrome' -- native speakers actually being unaware of phonemic distinctions that they habitually make(1) --, so IMO the best approach is to try and find a balance between the two approaches. (1) In the Lycksele case the speakers were under the suggestion of the phonological system of a prestige lect, but we also know that writing perverts people's intuitions, e.g. someone cited the case of a linguistic innocent saying something to the effect that "of course the 'ch' sound consists of two sounds, a 'c' and an 'h'!"
>>>(The monthly instalment of "Andreas's reasons for phonemic >>>vowel length in Swedish": if vocalic length is subphonemic, >>>how am I supposed to account for the fact that _kvart_ >>>[kvat`] and _fart_ [fA:t`] don't rhyme?) >> >>They don't rime because they _kvart_ is /kvartt/ and _fart_ >>is /fart/. More precisely: >> >>1) An rC cluster (other than /rr/) doesn't suffice to >>make a preceeding vowel short. >> >>2) There are rC_1C_1 (i.e. /r/ + geminate) clusters even >>though the spelling system fails to distinguish them, and >>those do cause shortening. In fact r + geminate is more >>frequent than r + single consonant. It is well known to >>Finnish speakers that Swedish speakers mispronounce words >>like _Turku_ as _**Turkku_. There are BTW rrC clusters >>as well, though only in loanwords. > > > (Apparently not to the Finn who told me Swedes can't pronounce geminates. Well, > it's a pretty odd claim to start with.)
Well s/he probably thought of the fact that Swedes 'can't' pronounce geminates after long vowels -- due to the fact that in our native phonology vowel length is a function of consonantal and morphological structure, and geminates make the preceding vowel short.
>>I readily admit that rC against rCC is most frequent with >>r + coronal, and that's probably no accident, and that most >>words with r + coronal geminate are loanwords, and that the >>phenomenon of r + coronal being realized as postalveolars >>probably has something to do with it, the [R] dialects >>mostly having short vowels before all kinds of clusters. > > > I can't seem to think of any word with long vowel + r + non-coronal consonant.
Me neither in fact, which means that r+coronal clusters are somehow special in non-[R] lects.
>>Still the r+geminate analysis is more economical than the >>vowel length analysis, since even if you claim that your >>lect has no (surface) geminates vowel length is predictable >>from consonantal structure in 90 per cent of all cases, >>provided that one takes into account that: >> >>1) Vowels can be long only in syllables with primary or >>secondary stress, and >> >>2) Morpheme boundaries matter in length assignment, in that >>a morpheme boundary between two consonants in a cluster >>usually -- i.e. in most lects -- prevents shortening. That's >>why you get [ku:kt] from _kok#t_ and [E:gde] from _äg#de_. >>Notably geminates in many lects shorten preceding vowels >>even if a boundary intervenes, thus [got:]/[gOt:] from >>_got#t_. > > > Incidentally, my 'lect has no word [ku:kt] - the past participle of _koka_ is > [kUkt]. This would seem to be an irregularity, however: cf _smekt_ [sme:kt].
I have free variation in _kokt_, so it seems to be a marked lexeme.
> Well, your explanation seems to work, altho it still *feels* wrong.
Probably because your junior school teacher told you that doubled consonants (or 'blue letters' as my son says) marked the preceding vowel (aka 'red letter' as short, rather than telling you that doubled consonants actually are two identical consonants, and that stressed vowels usually become short when followed by more than one consonant. I claim that Swedish descriptive tradition is influenced by German and/or Danish tradition here, and that actual native speaker awareness has precious little to do with it, since the average native speaker is unaware of phonetic facts. Rather some German-speaking non-average person has formulated a 'spelling rule' at some point, which afterwards has spread as a matter of tradition. Last year I discussed spelling reform with some native Swedish speakers, one of whom seriously suggested spellings like _sakkta_, since he perceived consonant letter doubling as merely a traditional marker of the preceding vowel as short. He had serious troubles accepting when I and another phonetically informed person told him that there are actual 'long consonants' in Swedish, and that a stop before another stop can't be long!
>>>But to connect to what you said about the phantasmal nature of standard >> >>Swedish; >> >>>we're arguing from 'lects that can't be reduced to a common phonology. >> >>So you are saying that we speak different languages? >>Interresting! > > > Only if Bohuslän recently acquired an army and a navy. ;)
Well, it has been having a *fishing* fleet for some time! ;)
> > You seem to be assuming that if two speech-forms have differing phonologies, > they should be considered different languages. I see no particular reason to > adopt that viewpoint, and it would certainly imply a use of the word "language" > quite different from that of ordinary speech.
There are of course no absolutes, and in actuality I doubt 'a' language can only be socially defined. (Google for _Ausbausprache_!)
>>Well, I think that the most common words with 'unstressed |au| >>-- _chaufför_ and _restaurang_ -- are simply 'misspelled': they >>might as well be spelled with _å_ just like _fåtölj_; at least >>in the case of _chaufför_ I think it is simply a case of the >>word being adopted at a later time, and by people who harbored >>secret aversions against Leopold's scheme for respelling of >>French loanwords. Both words definitely have /o/ for me. > > > Equally definitely, neither has /o/ for me. They're /xa'f2:r/ (or /xa'f2r/ if > you prefer) and /rEst8'raN/ for me. The former is presumably a spelling > pronunciation, the later is just weird. Needless to say, I'd be less than > thrilled to see them respelt as _chåfför_ and _restårang_! > > But the most common word with unstressed |au| in my speak is definitely not > _chafför_, and probably not _restaurang_; it's probably _automat_ /atu'ma:t/ > (/atu'mat/) with derivatives.
Which reflects the fact that you probably use vending machines more often than me, and that I use the muncipal transportation service for the disabled! The reason there is uncertainty is of course that the [au] diphthong is basically foreign -- we *have* to substitute something else for it especially in in unstressed positions, and since our standardizers neglected to subject the |au| spelling to the expected respelling in some words there arose(2) uncertainty/disagreement as to how to pronounce it, since Swedes normally expect spelling to be phonetic. It is of course mainly a problem to kids learning to spell (2) Though I wonder why. A hundred years ago the [o(:)] pronunciation was general in these words. Probably a reflection of the decline in prestige of and education in French. A hundred years from now people will probably say ['xo:f2r] and ['o:tumat] due to the increasing prestige of English! :-) -- /BP 8^)> -- Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch at melroch dot se "Maybe" is a strange word. When mum or dad says it it means "yes", but when my big brothers say it it means "no"! (Philip Jonsson jr, age 7)