11. The Perceptual Weight of Word Stress, Quantity and Tonal Word Accent in Swedish
Åsa Abelin [+]
University of Gothenburg
Bosse Thorén [+]
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.