An Acoustic Analysis of Generational Change of the Open-Mid Front Rounded Vowel [œ] in Finland-Swedish

Strandberg, J. A. E., 8-Sep-2018, (Unpublished).

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic

This apparent-time study examines generational phonetic change in the Finland-Swedish community, occurring as a result of increased contact with the Finnish majority language. Finland-Swedish is a variety of Swedish that is spoken as a first language by approximately 300,000 people in Finland, while also retaining a status as an official national language alongside Finnish (Hult & Pietikäinen 2014: 4). In the past Finnish and Swedish were largely spoken in different regions and culturally distinct communities. However, lately the Finnish society has become more linguistically mixed, causing the Finnish language to have a larger impact on the lives and language of Finland-Swedish speakers. Using acoustic analysis of formants, the study explores whether Finland-Swedish vowel production in young highly proficient bilingual speakers is undergoing change due to influence from Finnish. The project focuses on the Swedish open-mid front rounded vowel [œ], a more open allophone of [ø] that only occurs before /r/ (Riad 2014: 38; Leinonen 2011: 78). Sample tokens for [ø] and [œ] in different phonological contexts were collected through recordings of photo-elicited interviews from several consecutive generations of bilingual Finland-Swedish speakers. Measuring the first and second formants of the samples, the study examines the phonological differences between the older and younger generations of speakers. The measurements showed that while older-generation late bilingual speakers produced distinct formant values for both allophones, younger native and early bilingual speakers demonstrated more variation in their abilities to differentiate between the allophones in production. Additionally, a survey investigating the perception of [œ] and [ø] in Finland-Swedish suggested that native bilingual Finnish and Finland-Swedish participants were less accurate in matching allophones to target words than monolingual Finland-Swedish participants. The results of both the acoustic analysis and the survey suggest that input from Finnish may affect the perception and production of allophones [œ] and [ø] in the spoken Swedish of native and early bilingual Finland-Swedish speakers.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 8-Sep-2018
EventSecond International Conference on Sociolinguistics: Insights from Superdiversity, Complexity and Multimodality - Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 6-Sep-20188-Sep-2018


ConferenceSecond International Conference on Sociolinguistics
Abbreviated titleICoS-2
Internet address


Second International Conference on Sociolinguistics: Insights from Superdiversity, Complexity and Multimodality


Budapest, Hungary

Event: Conference


  • Sociolinguistics, Language Variation, Bilingualism, Finland-Swedish, Swedish, Phonetics

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