Simplification of phonotactic structures in unscripted Swedish  

Olle Engstrand & Diana Krull

Journal of the International Phonetic Association (in press)


Informal listening suggests that unscripted Swedish shows a tendency to produce alternating contoid and vocoid articulations which relate to more complex consonant and vowel structures at the phonological level. To test this hypothesis, two unscripted monologues and, for comparison, a careful text reading were analyzed. The speech material was segmented using criteria based on the so-called sonority hierarchy (Jespersen, O., Lehrbuch der Phonetik, Leipzig & Berlin: Teubner, 1926). The results largely corroborated the hypothesis in showing that contoid-vocoid units appeared considerably more frequently in unscripted speech than suggested by conventional phonotactic analysis, and that some reduction effects appeared more frequently in the unscripted than in the read speech. The possibility that this reflects an underlying articulatory organization of spontaneous speech in terms of typologically basic CV units is discussed.

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