The generalized grave accent in the Sorunda dialect: preliminary observations of three generations  

Anna M Ericsson & Olle Engstrand

In the Proceedings of Fonetik 2003, the XVI Swedish Phonetics Conference, Lövånger, June 2-4, 2003. Phonum 9: 97-100.


A large Eastern Central Sweden dialect area, including the Sorunda dialect, is traditionally characterized by a generlized grave tonal word accent which, according to informal observations, is in decline. The present paper reports the results of a preliminary auditory analysis of word accent use in three generations of Sorunda speakers. Using recordings of spontaneous speech, it was found that dialect speakers born in the late 1800s consistently adhered to the generalized grave accent. In contrast, today's young Sorunda speakers in their 20s turned out to have adopted the Central Standard Swedish norm. However, speakers of an intermediate generation, 50 to 70 years of age, showed a mixed pattern. Most standard grave and acute words were realized with the grave accent by these speakers, but some standard acute words were also realized as acute. A word categorization using morphological and semantic criteria did not reveal any clear systematicity in this variation. This suggests that the intermediate speakers vacillate between the old and the new speaking habits rather than consistently adhering to some intermediate phonological norm.

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