Working paper Open Access
Finnish is a Finno-Ugric language spoken by approximately 5 million native speakers, the great majority of whom live in Finland. The linguistic situation in Finland is somewhat unique; in addition to regional dialects, there are standard forms of the language that are in wide use despite not truly being the native language of any Finnish speakers. Notably, kirjakieli (‘book language’), the written standard, is taught in schools throughout Finland, and used in contexts such as the news, political speeches, and written prose; additionally, standard puhekieli (‘speech language’) is used in popular television shows and films, as well as when two interlocutors are not from the same dialect region. However, the regional dialects of Finnish are still vigorous. Children acquiring Finnish first learn their regional dialects, and only learn the standard forms in school and through exposure to Finnish media. Despite formal teaching and exposure to standard forms of the language, even “standard” puhekieli is often colored by features from the speaker’s regional dialect.
To date, most papers that focus on Finnish in generative linguistics deal with some type of standard Finnish: either kirjakieli or puhekieli, which approximates the Hame dialects, spoken in and ¨ around the urban centers of Helsinki and Tampere. In this paper, I will be focusing on second-mora lengthening (SML), a phonological phenomenon present in two major dialect groups of Finnish: Savo dialects, spoken in central-eastern Finland, and Pohjanmaa dialects, spoken in central-western Finland. I argue, in contrast with previous proposals, that SML in Finnish is not simply a phonetic lengthening due to the presence of an intonational contour, but rather that it reflects an initial moraic foot with some domain-final process of extension. The rest of this paper is organized as follows: in Sec. 2, I will provide a description of SML in both Finnish and other Finnic languages. In Sec. 3 I will discuss previous proposals and argue that an alternative analysis is necessary, which I will elaborate on