Andersson (2016) – Sieves and Herrings: For Distinctive Vowel Length in Swedish

Sieves and Herrings: For Distinctive Vowel Length in Swedish
Samuel Andersson

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September 2016

In this article, I reexamine the question of vowel and consonant length in Swedish, a hotly debated topic since at least Elert (1955). Vowel and consonant length depend on, and mutually predict, each other, so it’s difficult to tell which is phonemic. I look at the traditional arguments used in the literature, but also introduce internal and external evidence that’s never previously been discussed. The evidence favours Vowel Theory, where vowel length is distinctive. I’ll also show that all major assumptions of Consonant Theory are false. I do this using evidence like minimal pairs for vowel length, previously claimed to be logically impossible in Swedish. I’ll conclude that it’s difficult to keep believing in underlying consonant length, and that an analysis with vowel length is better.

Format: pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003136
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Stockholm
keywords: swedish, standard central swedish, length, quantity, vowel length, consonant length, phonology, morphophonology, phonology