Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ONLINE.NO
Tue Mar 3 09:27:08 UTC 1998

George Thompson wrote:

>To return to Lars Martin's Norwegian examples: are the retroflexed forms
>/ka.t/ and /ma:.t/ found to be in competetion with variants /kart/ and
>/malt/? And if so is one form considered standard over against the other?

As I said, retroflexion is an East Norwegian/West Swedish phenomenon
(disagreeing Swedes out there, please protest!) ma:.t (= standard ma:lt,
"painted") is decidedly dialect/sociolect (rural or lower class). The
opposition kat (cat) : ka.t (map) (written katt/kart) is heard in standard
East Norwegian and is, as far as I can see, part of educated speech. It is
my impression that extended use of retroflexion is part of rural or lower
class speech. But I am not the best of informers here. I am a South
Norwegian, and my own dialect has no retroflexion. Incidentally, Norwegian
makes a difference between aspirated and unaspirated stops: kh/k, ph/p,
th/t. These sounds, however, are true allophones. The aspirated stop is used
in syllables with stress, the unaspirated in unstressed syllables. This
creates a lot of trouble for us when we try to learn French!

Historically, the retroflexes come from the combination of r/l + t,d.

Best regards,

Lars Martin Lars Martin Fosse
Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
0674 Oslo

Tel: +47 22 32 12 19
Fax: +47 22 32 12 19
Email: lmfosse at
Mobile phone: 90 91 91 45

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