Phonology in Protolanguage and Interlanguage - Elena Babatsouli

Phonology in Protolanguage and Interlanguage - Elena Babatsouli

11. The Perceptual Weight of Word Stress, Quantity and Tonal Word Accent in Swedish

Phonology in Protolanguage and Interlanguage - Elena Babatsouli

Åsa Abelin [+-]
University of Gothenburg
Åsa Abelin is a professor of general linguistics at the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science at University of Gothenburg. Her research interests lie within phonetics and psycholinguistics ranging between the areas of second language acquisition, emotional prosody and iconicity in language. In particular, she has studied intelligibility, comprehensibility and attitudes to non-native accent as well as perception of emotional prosody, and sound symbolism and onomatopoeia in Swedish.
Bosse Thorén [+-]
Dalarna University,
Bosse Thorén is a senior lecturer at Dalarna University, Sweden, and he also gives lectures to teachers of Swedish as a second language at seminars and workshops. His PhD at Stockholm University was about the priority of temporal aspects of the Swedish prosody. His research interests lie in describing Swedish and English prosodies and investigating the intelligibility of foreign accented speech in relation to teaching the languages to second language speakers. He seeks to suggest phonological core features of Swedish and English critical for cross-cultural communication.


Wherever migration or travelling takes place, people need to learn new languages. This learning entails a variety of interlanguages. Irrespective of whether you are a learner or a teacher of a language, you need to decide how to allocate time and effort for learning and teaching into developing different sub-skills of the language. Four skills are considered in second language teaching and learning; listening, reading, speaking and writing. Proficiency in speaking requires sub-competences, such as pragmatic competence, fluency or making a clear pronunciation. Even having each of these sub-competences for speaking require having sub-skills. For example, to have a “good” pronunciation, one needs to well realise segmental features: phonemes, phonotactics, assimilations, and prosodic features: rhythm and intonation. Most of the time, young children learning their first language (L1) as well as additional languages (L2’s) acquire these pronunciation skills without formal training and often reach a native-like speech also in additional languages. By contrast, adult learners of an additional language seldom reach nativelikeness in their pronunciation of the language. However, ideally, they still can achieve a fluent, intelligible and well-received pronunciation of the language. The present paper is concerned with the pronunciation of Swedish as an additional language, in particular, three phonemic prosodic contrasts, namely stress contrast, quantity contrast and tonal word accent contrast. We attempt to find out, among these three prosodic contrasts, which is more crucial than the others for making one’s speech intelligible. That is, if the second language learner cannot acquire all of them perfectly, which of them should be given more priority in learning and teaching Swedish pronunciation? We also want to study whether or not a pronunciation lacking one or two of these contrasts can still be well understood.

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Abelin, Åsa; Thorén, Bosse. 11. The Perceptual Weight of Word Stress, Quantity and Tonal Word Accent in Swedish. Phonology in Protolanguage and Interlanguage. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 316-341 Jan 2018. ISBN 9781781795644. Date accessed: 25 Sep 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.31681. Jan 2018

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