In all teaching, some parts of the material probably is more important than others. It can be felt that for a long time all phonetic features in the field of Swedish as an L2, have been considered equally important for an acceptable L2-speech. In the late 70:s, however, distinct ideas of priority developed: A research project in Lund, conducted by Eva Gårding and Robert Bannert, aimed at optimizing Swedish pronunciation, concluded that prosody is a prerequisite for making oneself understood in spoken Swedish. Olle Kjellin (1978) contributed with the book Svensk prosodi i praktiken ’Swedish prosody in practice’. Here prosody was described in an easily comprehensible and consistent way..
Some 30 years later many teaching media have adopted a simplified method for prosody marking in texts, that mostly is manifested in the underlining of letters that correspond to phonologically long segments, e.g. mata ‘feed’ – matta ‘carpet’, instead of just marking long or short vowel. This simple strategy contains – among others – the following assumptions:
· Stressed syllables have longer duration than unstressed ones, and the extra length lies in the vowel or the postvocalic consonant.
· Lengthening the correct segment in stressed syllables is the primary way of realizing both stress and quantity – vowel and consonant durations are equally important.
· The rhythmical properties of Swedish, i.e. stress and quantity – are more important than tonal properties e.g. the word accents 1/acute and 2/grave.
· Segment duration, as a means of realizing quantity, is more important than spectral differences between /V:/ and /V/
My research focuses on the duration of the postvocalic consonant, and my results imply that:
· Duration is the main perceptual cue for quantity in Swedish, for all vowels except /ʉ/, but duration does contribute the categorization in long and short /ʉ/.
· The duration of the postvocalic consonant helps listeners to perceive quantity category when the vowel duration is between typical values for long and short allophone.
· Unambiguous L2-realizations of Swedish quantity and word stress always follow the temporal pattern /V:C/-/VC:/.
· Native Swedish speakers produced longer postvocalic consonants after short vowel in English and German words, than did native speakers of English and German.
2007. 265-284 p.