https://www.duolingo.com/tjasonham

Why is 'bättre' spelled with 2 T's?

tjasonham
  • 15
  • 15
  • 13
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 2

Trying to figure out short vowels vs long vowels.

My understanding is that a vowel becomes short before two consonants. Does this not apply to the 'tr' dipgraph?

I'm sure there are other possible reasons (like historical reasons), I'm mainly just trying to make sense of it all : )

3 years ago

7 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Zmrzlina
Zmrzlina
Mod
  • 14
  • 13
  • 12
  • 10
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2

I think it has to do with stressed syllables being open or closed, meaning whether they end on a syllable or a consonant. If it were spelled "bätre", that would make the syllables of the word bä-tre. And since an open stressed syllable must have a long vowel sound, it has two T's to avoid this, making the first syllable closed (bät-tre).

Anyone more knowledgeable on the inner workings of Swedish please correct me if I'm wrong.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Joel__W
Joel__W
  • 14
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 67

To expand on this: Swedish like many other languages have a "maximal onset" principle when it comes to processing words into syllables. It means, to simplify things, that any consonant combination that is allowed to begin a syllable in Swedish will begin a syllable. A stop (e.g. /p, t, g/) + a liquid (e.g. /r , l/ is such a combination, so /tr/ will be an onset. There are others of course, which I'm sure you can find if you look up Swedish phonotactics.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tjasonham
tjasonham
  • 15
  • 15
  • 13
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 2

Ahh, this was the missing piece I was looking for! (Although maybe a bit obvious in retrospect.) Thanks.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Joel__W
Joel__W
  • 14
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 67

You're welcome! I don't think it's that obvious. I actually just learned about it, and if you haven't studied linguistics or languages where heavy/light syllables are important then you likely haven't heard about it.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkBorkBorkBork

Thank you for that :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Joelmosen

That's correct!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a
annika_a
  • 22
  • 17
  • 17
  • 16
  • 11
  • 11
  • 5
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

I would pronounce "bätre" with a long first vowel sound, if it was a word. Native speaker here.

3 years ago
Learn Swedish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.