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La production du schwa par des apprenants suédophones de FLE
Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, French. (ISTUD, Interkulturella språkstudier)
2017 (French)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The pronunciation of French schwa by Swedish learners of French

The purpose of this paper is to examine the pronunciation of French schwa by Swedish learners of French as a foreign language. The study investigates how the learners deal with schwa deletion (mute e), which is a very frequent phonological process in spoken French, and also how the learners pronounce the schwa when it is not deleted.

The corpus used for this study was built in the context of the international project IPFC (Interphonologie du français contemporain), and consists of recordings of learners with Swedish as their mother tongue.

Thirty learners participated in the first part of the study. Their task was to read and repeat isolated terms from two lists of words and to read a short text. The results show that many learners have difficulties in pronouncing French schwa correctly. In fact, they often pronounce it as [e] or [ɛ] (e.g. revanche pronounced [ʁevɑ̃ʃ] instead of [ʁəvɑ̃ʃ]). This problem often persists even for very advanced learners, even though learners who have spent at least six months in a French-speaking country generally have better results than those who have spent less time in the target culture. However, there is a wide variation among learners and also from one word to another. As to schwa deletion, the results show that the students delete very few schwas. Moreover, the results indicate that the learners do not produce schwa deletions that involve left attachment of the word’s first consonant with the preceding word across the lexical boundary (e.g. dans le coin [dɑ̃l.kwɛ̃]). 

The part of the corpus used for the second part of the study consists of dialogues between 10 of the students. The analysis shows that the learners make more schwa deletions in conversation than when they read a text (as studied in the first part). Compared to native French speakers however, the learners make fewer schwa deletions, especially in the initial syllable of polysyllabic words (e.g. semaine, demi). The learners do not make any incorrect schwa deletions, unlike what has been observed among Dutch learners. When it comes to the vowel quality, fifty percent of the students pronounce most schwas correctly, while the other half often pronounce the vowel incorrectly as [e] or [ɛ]. Even some of the students who lived for several years in France have problems with the pronunciation. The results also show that schwa is better pronounced in monosyllabic words (e.g. je, le) than in polysyllabic words.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
Intercultural Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-27405OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-27405DiVA, id: diva2:1190439
Conference
Congrès des romanistes scandinaves 15-18 augusti 2017 vid Universitetet i Bergen
Available from: 2018-03-14 Created: 2018-03-14 Last updated: 2018-03-16Bibliographically approved

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Stridfeldt, Monika

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CiteExportLink to record
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