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Predicting vowel length_Swedish

 Language Learning Forum : Skandinavisk & Nordisk Post Reply
MK
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Greece
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Speaks: Greek*, English
Studies: Swedish

 
 Message 1 of 8
06 February 2015 at 2:17pm | IP Logged 
Hello guys,

two months ago, i started to study swedish, by myself but it seems i'm having a problem in which and whether a vowel is long or short.

So far, i'm using Folkets Lexikon (http://folkets-lexikon.csc.kth.se/folkets/folkets.html).

I'm also reading "Swedish, Essentials of Grammar (by Åke Viberg)" and i know that there are some rules for predicting vowel length from the written form, like:

a vowel is long, if
1. vowel in open syllables
2. followed by one consonant and

a vowel is short, if
1. followed by a double consonant or two/more consonants (there's also an exception to this rule...vowels before -rd, -rl, -rn, -ln, before consonant+l, are long)

In the first month, i focused more in the pronunciation chapter but when i started to learn new words i found that some words don't follow the above rules, for example:

tisdag, the i is long, followed by two consonants...i cannot figure it out...do we split the word in its syllables, tis|dag, therefore the i is long?

torsdag, the o is long o and lördag the ö is long (the above rule) while söndag (using the Folkets Lexikon) ö is short and from this site: http://www2.hhs.se/isa/swedish/chap2.htm (ö is long, at the bottom of the site).

Another example is varsågod, where Folkets gives two differents pronunciations, with the first one, the a is long..... http://folkets-lexikon.csc.kth.se/folkets/folkets.html#looku p&vars%C3%A5god

i can write other examples too, but i think you understand what i'm saying

So, are we talking about some exceptions or am i missing something here...?

Also, i'd like to know:

1.if Folkets lexikon is reliable for use...
2. the mark : next to a vowel indicates that is long, correct?
3. can you suggest a good dictionary (and from which site)which has the pronunciation (long/short vowels), stress, and in/definite article

tack för hlälpen



ps: i apologize for the long post, but i couldn't find something similar in the forum
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Ari
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 Message 2 of 8
06 February 2015 at 3:21pm | IP Logged 
These are composite words, though they might not quite quite look like it at first glance.
Tisdag = Tyrs dag. Tyr is a Norse god
Torsdag = Tors dag. Tor = Thor
Lördag = Lör-dagen. "Lör" is related (I think) to "laver" in French. It means "to wash"*. Saturday is washing-day.
Varsågod = Var så god, literally "Be so good".

When words are assembled into a composite word, they don't change their vowel lengths even if there's suddenly two or more consonants in the "joint".

There are many, many examples of this. Rid-skola, kol-dolmar, dam-mannekäng, el-lära, etc. Even though when written together, as ridskola, koldolmar, dammannekäng, ellära, the first vowel in all of these words remains long.

* EDIT: Please note that this is an old word. Nobody would use it today. I'm not even sure what the base form is. Löra?

EDIT2: The reason "söndag" still has a short vowel is probably because the word used to be "sönn". This is related to German "Sonne", where it has double consonants. It means "Sun", just like in English, "Sun-day". The extra 'n' probably just got lost sometime in history. The modern Swedish word is "sol". So "söndag" is a true exception, and there are a few more, but probably not that many, once you know the rule about composite words.

Edited by Ari on 06 February 2015 at 3:29pm

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MK
Diglot
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Greece
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Studies: Swedish

 
 Message 3 of 8
06 February 2015 at 10:10pm | IP Logged 
Ari wrote:
These are composite words, though they might not quite quite look like it at first glance.
Tisdag = Tyrs dag. Tyr is a Norse god
Torsdag = Tors dag. Tor = Thor
Lördag = Lör-dagen. "Lör" is related (I think) to "laver" in French. It means "to wash"*. Saturday is washing-day.
Varsågod = Var så god, literally "Be so good".

When words are assembled into a composite word, they don't change their vowel lengths even if there's suddenly two or more consonants in the "joint".

There are many, many examples of this. Rid-skola, kol-dolmar, dam-mannekäng, el-lära, etc. Even though when written together, as ridskola, koldolmar, dammannekäng, ellära, the first vowel in all of these words remains long.

* EDIT: Please note that this is an old word. Nobody would use it today. I'm not even sure what the base form is. Löra?

EDIT2: The reason "söndag" still has a short vowel is probably because the word used to be "sönn". This is related to German "Sonne", where it has double consonants. It means "Sun", just like in English, "Sun-day". The extra 'n' probably just got lost sometime in history. The modern Swedish word is "sol". So "söndag" is a true exception, and there are a few more, but probably not that many, once you know the rule about composite words.


Tack så mycket Ari,

Now everything is clear...:)

Besides Folkets lexikon can you suggest me a good dictionary with full pronunciation? I was looking for something like that: http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789113032276/norstedts-stora-engel ska-ordbok-engelsk-svensksvensk-engelsk/
but i haven't read too many good reviews (no long/short vowel, full pronunciation ONLY in the engelsk-svensk part)

It's really important to buy an ordbok with full pronunciation
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daegga
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 Message 4 of 8
07 February 2015 at 12:09am | IP Logged 
Ari wrote:

Lördag = Lör-dagen. "Lör" is related (I think) to "laver" in French. It means "to
wash"*. Saturday is washing-day.

* EDIT: Please note that this is an old word. Nobody would use it today. I'm not even
sure what the base form is. Löra?


"laugardagr" in Old Norse, from "laug" (bath), so literally "day of the bath". "at
lauga" = to bathe. But you can easily see the relation to laundry (at least if you've
seen some old movies - washing clothes in big hot pools...).


Anyway, what I wanted to add to this thread:
These pronunciation rules usually speak of syllables. In Swedish (main) syllables are
long: either short vowel + long consonant (= more than 1) or long vowel + short (or no)
consonant. If the next syllable starts with a consonant or not is of no concern. The rs
etc. combination are an exception I think, they kinda break and reform the syllable
structure (even if two separate words follow after each other - eg. du är så ... --> du
e sjå ...).


Edited by daegga on 07 February 2015 at 12:18am

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Medulin
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 Message 5 of 8
07 February 2015 at 3:36am | IP Logged 
The vowel length of many Swedish words is not guessable from spelling, for example:

Lars has the long a,
while
mars has the short a

:)

Edited by Medulin on 07 February 2015 at 3:39am

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Ari
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 Message 6 of 8
07 February 2015 at 9:59am | IP Logged 
MK wrote:
Besides Folkets lexikon can you suggest me a good dictionary with full pronunciation?

Can't help you there, I'm afraid. As a native speaker, I rarely need to look up the pronunciation of a word. And as an avid language learner, I rarely read in Swedish, meaning I don't even need a Swedish dictionary in the first place. :)
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MK
Diglot
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Greece
Joined 1782 days ago

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Speaks: Greek*, English
Studies: Swedish

 
 Message 7 of 8
07 February 2015 at 11:44am | IP Logged 
daegga wrote:
[QUOTE=Ari]
Anyway, what I wanted to add to this thread:
These pronunciation rules usually speak of syllables. In Swedish (main) syllables are
long: either short vowel + long consonant (= more than 1) or long vowel + short (or no)
consonant. If the next syllable starts with a consonant or not is of no concern. The rs
etc. combination are an exception I think, they kinda break and reform the syllable
structure (even if two separate words follow after each other - eg. du är så ... --> du
e sjå ...).


So, if i understand well you're claiming that these rules apply only after we split the word in its syllables?

Honestly, i don't think so ...at least as concerns the non compounds words... får (long å)Vowel-Consonant and fångna VCC (short å)

but i agree with Ari...and you of course, when we have to do with compound words, like apelsinjuice (the i in apelsin is long) = apelsin + juice

Anyway, i just in the beginning of learning Swedish :)
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Ari
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Studies: Czech, Latin, German

 
 Message 8 of 8
07 February 2015 at 12:53pm | IP Logged 
Daegga is probably right, but I don't think it's that useful for a learner to see it this way, since you have to look at the phonetics and not the spelling. A "long consonant" can be represented by a single consonant in spelling, if the next syllable begins with a consonant, as in "kände". So I think you can proceed with your rule and ignore the syllable structure.

However, there's probably another class of exceptions, which is conjugations. "Låsa" (to lock) has a long 'å', and so has the past form "låste" and the whateveritscalled form "låst", even though they end in double consonants. Other verbs with long vowels will generally follow this pattern.

Similarly "båt" has a long vowel, and so has the genetiv form "båts". For these kinds of words you'll have to look at the "base form" to know whether it's a long or short vowel.


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