15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

The Merger of Short /ø/ and /ɵ/ in Eastern Swedish - A Combined Production and Perception Test

Lena Bergström

University of Uppsala, Sweden

In parts of Sweden an ongoing sound change tends to cause a merger of short /o/ and /ɵ/ in words such as döma /døma/ 'judge' and dumma /dɵma/ 'stupid'. This leads to several homonyms in the language and, even though it seldom causes linguistic misunderstandings, it tends to be considered as a substandard way of speaking. This paper addresses the relationship between production and perception of the two sounds. On the basis of acoustical analyses, 20 informants were selected to take part in a perception test. Half of the informants produced the merger, and half of them did not. The two groups show no major differences in the perception test, which leads to the conclusion that the sound change is subconscious and is first observed in the production.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Bergström, Lena (2003): "The merger of short /ø/ and /ɵ/ in Eastern Swedish - a combined production and perception test", In ICPhS-15, 1477-1480.