L2 intonation by Swedish learners of Japanese:Analysis of pitch accent and prosodic phrasing errors


Summary, in English

This thesis examines the L2 intonation of Swedish learners of Japanese with a focus on pitch accent and prosodic phrasing errors. Previous studies have attempted to predict L2 learners’ difficulties and errors, such as Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis (CAH) by Lado (1957) and Markedness Differential Hypothesis (MDH) by Eckman (1977; 1985). L2 Japanese pronunciation has been analysed at the word or phrase level by existing studies (Sakamoto 2010; Ogawasara 2015). Tsurutani (2007; 2011) studies the intonation of English learners of Japanese at the phrasal and sentence level intonation while lacking the perspective of syntax and prosody.
This thesis attempts to apply CAH and MDH to the case of Swedish learners of Japanese and to fill the gap in the findings of the existing L2 Japanese pronunciation studies. This study adds a perspective of the interaction between syntax and prosody and analyses the errors made by Swedish learners of Japanese at the phrasal and sentence level intonation.
Four Tokyo Japanese native speakers and fourteen Swedish learners of Japanese read the stimuli aloud while their speech was recorded for the analysis. How their speech depicts the syntactic structure, and prosodic features of the stimuli is discussed.
It was found that four Tokyo Japanese native speakers produced diverse contours, but the varieties can be explained under the theories of syntax-prosody mapping and prosodic well-formedness. In contrast, the diversity among Swedish learners of Japanese cannot be explained within the theories. Most of the learners' errors seems to be due to negative transfer from their L1 as well as other various factors. The causes behind their errors seem to be complex and need further research.


  • Languages and Literatures


  • L2 Japanese intonation
  • Swedish learners of Japanese
  • L2 errors at the phrasal and sentence levels
  • pitch accent.


  • Shinichiro Ishihara (Reader)