Sieves and Herrings: For Distinctive Vowel Length in Swedish
Samuel Andersson
June 2018

This article reexamines the question of vowel and consonant length in Swedish, a hotly debated topic since at least Elert (1955). Vowel and consonant length usually depend on each other, and mutually predict each other, making the standard diagnostic of complementary distribution difficult to apply. I aim to solve this puzzle by introducing internal and external evidence not previously discussed in the literature on Swedish phonology. It is argued that the evidence favors Vowel Theory, where vowel length is distinctive, and an explicit rule-based analysis is provided. The article challenges long-standing assumptions about Swedish, such as the bimoraicity requirement on stressed syllables. The new evidence on bimoraicity suggests that Swedish quantitative phonology does not involve a teleological conspiracy aimed at producing more 'optimal' outputs, in line with the predictions of substance-free rule-based phonology.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003136
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Unpublished ms.
keywords: swedish, quantity, vowel length, consonant length, rule-based phonology, substance-free phonology
previous versions: v4 [June 2018]
v3 [November 2016]
v2 [November 2016]
v1 [September 2016]
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