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2 The Sounds of a Mixed Language

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents an overview of the Swedish Romani sound system. It examines segmental features: vowel and consonant inventories; as well as word level prosody: lexical stress, the quantity distinction, and lexical pitch accents. Since the core of the sound system has been adapted from Swedish, a comparison with Swedish underlies the synchronic description of the language in the chapter. It focuses on two segmental features for more detailed analysis: (i) an aspiration feature in the voiceless stops /ph th kh/ and in the voiced stop /gh/ that is not present in Swedish: the aspirated voiceless stops go back to Romani, whilst the /gh/ represents an innovation; (ii) a series of voiceless post-alveolar fricatives: Swedish has a similar series. The chapter pays special attention as well to a third feature of the language: the conspicuous occurrence of variation in pronunciation at all levels of phonology.

Keywords: consonant inventories; Swedish Romani sound system; voiceless post-alveolar fricatives; voiceless stops; vowel



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