Mutual intelligibility

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The vowel spaces of Danish and Swedish acoustically compared

Jan Vanhove's MA project

My M.A. thesis takes the hypothesis central to a number of MICReLa subprojects, viz. that Danish is intrinsically hard to understand, as its point of departure. My focus will be on vowel realisations. I will carry out an acoustical analysis on a handful of recordings of five Danish and five Swedish speakers reading word lists and nonsense sentences out loud. Then, I will calculate to what degree Danish and Swedish vowel realisations can be accurately assigned to their phonemes using linear discriminant analysis. If the percentage of accurately assigned vowel realisations were to be considerably lower for Danish than for Swedish, this would strengthen the hypothesis that Danish is not distinctly pronounced and therefore intrinsically hard to understand - at any rate harder than Swedish and as far as vowels are concerned. Finally, I will explore what the impact of my findings on inter-Scandinavian communication could be.

Last update: 19.10.2010

Finished projects