14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

Swedish ‘Damped’ /i/ and /y/: Experimental and Typological Observations

Sven Björsten, Olle Engstrand

Stockholm University, Sweden

In scattered Swedish dialects, the vowels /i/ and /y/ are pronounced with a markedly low F2. This results in a ‘damped’ vowel quality that appears to be rather unusual in a typological perspective. To date, however, no experimental studies of this vowel type have been carried out using Swedish material. In this paper, formant frequencies are presented for one dialect suggesting that the /i/ vs. /y/ contrast has been neutralized, and that the resulting vowel should be associated with unrounded high central [ɨ]. This hypothesis was corroborated by an articulatory simulation. It is thus suggested that the damped vowels found in the Swedish dialects are members of a relatively common vowel type. This was further supported by preliminary perceptual evidence suggesting that Swedish listeners accept Turkish [ɯ] as an instance of the Swedish damped vowel and, conversely, that Turkish listeners accept this vowel as an instance of Turkish [ɯ].

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Björsten, Sven / Engstrand, Olle (1999): "Swedish ‘damped’ /i/ and /y/: experimental and typological observations", In ICPhS-14, 1957-1960.