Perception and Production
Phonetic quantity as a social marker in urban Finland Swedish (Therese Leinonen)
Phonetic quantity as a social marker in urban Finland Swedish Therese Leinonen Abstract Quantity has been considered one of the most salient social markers in Finland Swe- dish. Extra-long consonants in stressed V:C syllables have been characteristic for the speech of upper class Swedish in Helsinki. In contrast, rural Finland Swedish dialects are characterized by very short consonant durations in V:C sequences. The aim of this paper is to study phonetic quantity in Swedish spoken in three cit- ies in Finland: Helsinki, Turku and Vaasa. Spontaneous speech data from 40 speakers in two age groups were analyzed. The results show significant differences across the cities. V:/C ratios are significantly lower in Helsinki and Turku than in Vaasa. In Tur- ku, there is a significant difference between older and younger speakers: the older speakers have similar values to the Helsinki speakers, whereas many of the younger speakers have values resembling those of Vaasa speakers. Vowel duration is the most important cue for discriminating between V:C and VC: sequences in Helsinki and Turku. In Vaasa, on the other hand, vowel duration as well as consonant duration is used for differentiating V:C and VC: sequences. 1. Introduction Swedish is described as a language with so-called complementary quanti- ty, which means that every stressed syllable has either a long vowel /V:(C)/ or a short vowel followed by a long consonant /VC:/ (Elert 1964: 39). This quantity system is the result of the quantity shift, which took...
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