Monday, December 13, 2010

Strong and Weak Forms in Swedish

Many Swedish words have strong and weak forms. This is also the case in English. For example, the word "for" has the strong form identical to "four" and the weak form identical to "fir." As in English, the Swedish words with strong and weak forms are usually monosyllabic and the strong forms are pronounced with greater stress and duration. The strong forms are considered more formal than the weak ones.

The word "mycket" means much. It is not monosyllabic but nevertheless has strong and weak forms. The strong form has a word-final "t" but the weak form does not. The "y" is a high front rounded vowel as in the French word "tu" which means you.

The word "dag" means day. It can be pronounced with or without a word-final "g." The weak form ends with a vowel sound.

Another word with strong and weak forms is "och" which means and. The "ch" is pronounced as if it were a "k." The "o" is similar to the "o" of "cold." The weak form has no word-final consonant sound and sounds similar to "oh."

The word for "what" is vad. The strong form is pronounced with a word-final "d." The weak form ends with a vowel sound.

Another word which varies in pronunciation is "aldrig." It means never. The strong form is pronounced with a word-final "g." The weak one ends with a vowel sound.

The word for "I" is jag. The strong-form has a word-final "g." The weak one ends with a vowel sound.

The word for "good" is god. The strong form is pronounced with a word-final "d." The weak form is not. The "o" is pronounced like a very rounded "u."

Another word which patterns the same is "stad." It means city. The strong-form has a word-final "d." The weak form ends with a vowel sound.

The word "tio" means ten. It is different because both the strong and weak forms have the same number of sounds. The strong form has a word-final vowel which sounds like a well-rounded "u." The weak form has a word-final schwa.

Another word which is different is "morgon." It means morning. The strong form is pronounced with a word-medial "g". The weak form is pronounced with no "g."

Strong and weak forms in Swedish consist of common words which are often distinguished by their word-final consonants. In strong forms, word-final consonants are pronounced but in weak forms they are not. Another distinction is made in vowels. Strong forms have a full vowel but reduced forms have a schwa. Strong forms are most common in formal situations.

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