The general object of this study is vowel production, specifically long palatal vowels in Swedish. In a cross-language comparison, Swedish has a fairly rich vowel system, and Swedish vowels have some particularly exotic and distinctive features. We focus on three specific issues: the crowding of vowels among the front, close vowels, particularly y and u, the diphthongisation of long vowels, and the special "damped" colour of i and y vowels. The main purpose is to analyse and understand the articulation of these vowels and their dynamics. We will use articulography which provides a three dimensional picture of tongue, lip and jaw movements. Phonetic studies of vowels have been mainly acoustic. Although there are a number of such studies of Swedish vowels, it is not possible to uniquely predict the articulation of a vowel from its acoustic properties. It is thus important and necessary to study the articulation of vowels directly to get a more complete phonetic description of them. The current project primarily concerns basic research. By using articulography, we will increase the empirical knowledge of vowel production in general, and extend our knowledge of the articulatory dynamics of palatal vowels in Swedish in particular. Potential applications of our study are mainly in logopedics and language teaching.
Susanne Schötz (project leader)