Svensk dialektologi och fonetik - tjänster och gentjänster
[Swedish dialectology and phonetics - returning a favour]
*Department of Linguistics, Lund University
Svenska landsmål och svenskt folkliv (1999): 7 - 23
Through the decades, many Swedish dialects have been carefully and accurately documented from a phonetic and phonological point of view. The resultant data are clearly relevant to phoneticians interested in historical sound change and areal phonetic variation since, to a certain extent, they may be assumed to reflect more general tendencies. Today, however, experimental phonetics has reached a level of sophistication that enables in to begin in earnest to return the favour. This paper focuses on three ways in which it can do so. First, phonetics should be able to set the Swedish dialects in a universal typological context; second, it should endeavour to explain the historical sound change processes that have led to the areal phonetic variation that we observe today; and third, it should provide the technical tools necessary to achieve these aims in an efficient manner. To exemplify these three areas of work, reference is made to (i) acoustic-phonetic and typological analyses of a class of 'damped' vowels encountered in several Swedish dialects ('Viby-i' and Viby-y'); (ii) the phonetic aspects of the Old Swedish quantity shift, and (iii) the design of a searchable digital database for research into the phonetics and phonology of Swedish dialects.