The same or different: A comparison of the rhythmic structure of Swedish and Albanian

Mechtild Tronnier, Elisabeth Zetterholm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this contribution is to give an account of the similarities or dissimilarities of the speech rhythm of Swedish and Albanian. In this study, temporal features were focused on to ascertain rhythmic differences between the two languages. The interest for this study arose when a clear rhythmic variation was observed in the accented Swedish L2 speech produced by L1-speakers of Albanian, namely the lack of attributes like reduction in unstressed syllables. It was thus hypothesised that speakers of L1-Swedish would produce larger variation in length of vocalic and/or consonantal intervals than L1-speakers of Albanian. The recorded material comprised read speech produced by seven L1-speakers of both languages. Various acoustic metrics were applied to analyse the rhythm. Results show differences between Swedish and Albanian speech for both non-normalised and normalised metrics only for the vocalic intervals, but with an unexpected outcome. In that way, larger length variation for vocalic intervals in the Albanian material than in the Swedish material was found. Therefore, the occurrence of reduction phenomena also in Albanian can be stated. These findings contradict the assumption that transfer from L1-Albanian was the reason for lack of reduction in L2-Swedish, as observed previously.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-762
Number of pages18
JournalPoznan Studies in Contemporary Linguistics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Specific Languages


  • Albanian
  • Language rhythm
  • rhythm metrics
  • rhythmic typology
  • Swedish


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