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L2 word accent production in Swedish: An experimental study on adult learners of Swedish with non-tonal L1 background


  • Ana Ramírez Maraver

Summary, in English

Previous research has shown that intermediate-advanced L2 learners of Swedish with a non-tonal L1 can use word accents to predict the upcoming suffix as L1 Swedish speakers do. This was also the case of low-intermediate L2 learners who produced word accents after being instructed on the Swedish prosodic system. On the contrary, previous findings on L2 Swedish learners with a tonal L1 exhibited no significant differences in the production of word accents to be accurately identified by native speakers.

The present study examines L2 perception and production of word accents in Swedish in three proficiency levels. Beginner, intermediate and advanced participants of Swedish with a non-tonal language background were classified into different Swedish level groups according to an online language test. They performed a perception test where their response times and accuracy were measured. Their speech was also recorded during a production task in which the number of rises and falls as well as the timing of the F0 onset, peak, and fall latencies were calculated from word beginning. The results of the perception test exhibited that they could use word accent to predict the upcoming suffix in a manner like native speakers. No difference among the groups, however, was found regarding accuracy and response times. The results in production showed that the advanced learners made a difference when producing word accents 1 and 2 for the real noun condition and that they had a tendency toward producing word accent patterns comparable to that of the Central Swedish variety. Additional analyses of word accent timing in the real noun condition showed no similarities between the timing of the falls of L2 learners in both accents and that of L1 Swedish speakers. Lastly, advanced speakers unexpectedly produced pseudo nouns carrying an accent-2 suffix with a rising contour.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Second Language Acquisition
  • perception
  • production
  • prosody
  • fundamental frequency


  • Mikael Roll