Appropriate Tone Accent Production in L2-Swedish by L1-Speakers of Somali

Mechtild Tronnier, Elisabeth Zetterholm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It has been suggested that speakers with an L1 with lexical tones may have an advantage when it comes to perceptually discriminating between different tones in another tone language (Kaan, Wayland, Bao & Barkley, 2007). Other studies in L2-learning show that this is not entirely the case (van Dommelen & Husby 2009, So & Best 2010). A model of typological pitch prominence (Schaefer & Darcy, 2013) suggests that speakers of an L1 with a higher pitch prominence can perceive tonal contrast in another tone language better than those with an L1 of a lower pitch prominence. This study addresses the question: if Somali L1-speakers make a systematical distinction in the tonal pattern when producing Swedish words with the two tonal accents – as both languages are of similar pitch prominence according to Schaefer and Darcy – and also to what extent they produce a tonal pattern assigned to either one of the tone accents. The adequate distinction is identified as such by native speakers/listeners of Swedish. Results revealed that a big discrepancy still remains between the number of correct identifications of the stimuli produced by the L1-speakers of Swedish and those produced by L2-speakers of Swedish with Somali as their L1. Having a typologically similar L1 does not seem to give enough support to handle the tone accent distinction in Swedish L2 adequately.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)722-736
JournalConcordia Working Papers in Applied Linguistics
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Linguistics and Phonetics (015010003)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics


Dive into the research topics of 'Appropriate Tone Accent Production in L2-Swedish by L1-Speakers of Somali'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this