Word accents in the Närpes dialect: Is there really only one accent?

Nina Svärd

Proceedings of Fonetik 2001, the XIVth Swedish Phonetics Conference, Örenäs, May 30 - June 1, 2001. Working Papers, Department of Linguistics, Lund University 49: 164-167.


Accent patterns in Närpes, Ostrobothnia are investigated in this paper. It is a commonly held assumption that the acute/grave distinction is not manifested in most Finland-Swedish dialects and that the acute accent is generalized. The native informants in this study also share this assumption. However, informal listening has suggested that this may not be the case. Recordings of two native older men and two native younger men were analyzed in terms of F0 contours. The results suggest that the tonal pattern in words, which receive acute accent in Standard Swedish, differ from that in words which receive grave accent in a systematic way. This difference resembles that found in Standard Swedish accent distinction, in particular the Uppland dialects. It is suggested that a weakening of the acoustic correlates of the accent distinction has led to the loss of the phonological distinction but without a complete loss of the patterns that were once used distinctively.

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