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Phonetics in Europe

Perception and Production

Edited By Charlotte S. Gooskens and Renee van Bezooijen

This volume comprehends articles focussing on phonetic aspects of languages and language varieties spoken in present-day Europe. The standard languages of the largest language families, Germanic, Slavic and Romance, are represented as well as minority languages such as Frisian and Finno-Ugric languages, dialects and regiolects. The methods employed are diverse and often innovative, shedding new lights on phonetics in Europe, both from a perception and production point of view.

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Do Danes speak more quickly than Swedes? (Anja Schüppert & Nanna Haug Hilton)

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Do Danes speak more quickly than Swedes? Anja Schüppert & Nanna Haug Hilton Abstract Within Scandinavia, communication across language borders often takes place in the native languages of the involved speakers. The East Scandinavian languages Danish and Swedish are closely related and thus mutually intelligible to a certain degree. However, mutual intelligibility between speakers of Danish and Swedish has been shown to be asymmetric in such a way that Danes generally decode more spoken Swe- dish items than vice versa. As there is extensive evidence that articulation rate affects intelligibility for na- tive speakers, we assume that even cross-linguistically, higher articulation rate is asso- ciated with lower intelligibility, and hypothesise that Danish is spoken at a faster rate than Swedish. We test this hypothesis by investigating phonetic articulation rate (the number of phonetic syllables produced per second) and lexical articulation rate (the number of words produced per second) in two corpora of spoken Danish and Swedish that can be assumed to be intelligible to most L1 speakers of the two speech communi- ties: news broadcasts. Our results show that Danish- and Swedish-speaking news readers produce the same number of phonetic syllables per second, while Danish-speaking news readers produce significantly more words per second than their Swedish-speaking colleagues. 1. Introduction Danish and Swedish are closely related languages belonging to the East Scandinavian branch of the North Germanic language family. As Tang & Van Heuven (2009) point out, closely related languages usually share a substantial number of cognate words. Within this set of...

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