Rorövovarorsospoproråkoketot: Language games and Swedish phonology

Samuel Andersson


This paper examines the phonology of language games, using two case studies from the Swedish language game Rövarspråket. The language game forms are analyzed in a rule-based implementation of Substance-Free Phonology. It is shown that Rövarspråket can shed light on problems in Swedish phonology, as well as on issues of general theoretical relevance. Using Rövarspråket data, I argue that the processes of pre-palatal raising and nasal assimilation have been phonologized. The argument illustrates the possibility of using language games to investigate whether a process is phonetic or phonological. The nasal assimilation process is formalized using phonetic underspecification. I also use Rövarspråket to show that a counterfeeding interaction in Swedish is fully productive, suggesting that opacity must be accounted for by our theories of phonology. This is in line with earlier work on language games and opacity, and with other work in phonological theory. It is hoped that this paper will stimulate more work on language games, and on those empirical and theoretical phenomena that they can help us understand.


Swedish;Language games;Rule-Based Phonology;Substance-Free Phonology;Phonetics-Phonology Interface;Opacity

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Copyright (c) 2018 Samuel Andersson