Phonology and the Dutch Stress

Topics: Syllable, Phonology, Stress Pages: 6 (1458 words) Published: October 8, 1999
The Dutch stress system

Dutch is described as being a quantity-sensitive trochaic system, operating from left to right with extrametricality. In the following essay I will gice the arguments and data that point towards this system. I will also analyse in which way exceptions are being taken care of within this system. The metrical analysis will be based on work by Trommelen & Zonneveld. These authors adopt an onset-rhyme organisation of syllable structure.

We can make three major generalisations about stress when analysing Dutch: Firstly, main stress always falls within a three-syllable-window at the right word edge: this indicates that the main stress always falls on one of the last three syllables. This can also be called the three-syllable restriction. This produces three different stress patterns: final, penultimate and antepenultimate. Primary stress is prohibited further to the left. The three-syllable-window restriction:



Furthermore, stress is restricted to a two-syllable windowin words containing a prefinal (or diphthong al) syllable. This means that antepenultimate stress (third syllable from right side of the word) only occurs in words with an open syllable next to it (an open penultimate syllable). Therefore, the Dutch stress system depends on the character of the second to last (penultimate) syllable. Data:ANTPENFIN


Thirdly, schwa syllables ae never stressed:
Data:a) –CVX-C@(C)b) -CVV-@(C )
móde, saláde, mirákel, Azië, Bélgië, térriër,
lénte, septémberÍndië

This is called the schwa-syllable restriction. Primary stress falls directly for a schwa syllable if schwa is immediately preceded by a consonant.
We can, however also make minor generalisations within the bounds of major generalisations. These minor generalisations reflect the predominant stress patterns, and allow for exceptions. These exceptions stand for the recessive stress patterns within the system. The position of main stress is conditioned both by the length of the word and by the internal structure of the syllables involved. The dominant patterns in Dutch are the following:

 In disyllabic words ending in open (VV) and closed (VC) syllables, penultimate stress is dominant  In trisyllabics, the dominant patterns are penultimate stress in VV-final words and antepenultimate stress in VC-final words (if the penultimate syllable is open)  In VXC-final words, final stress is the dominant pattern.

Now that we know about these generalisations we can provide arguments and data which point towards the system of Dutch stress.
Extrametricality in the Dutch language is normally operating on words having a final –VX syllable (which is heavy). However, it does not work on final ‘open’ VV-syllables (which are light). The following examples prove this: *

** ** *
* *** * ** * ** * *
Ba. ri. tOnba. ri. tOnba. ri.
This makes the word: Báriton
This is valid for Amérika, Jerúzalem and léxicon, etc. as well. It can be said as a conclusion that Dutch is extrametrical with the exception of SH- syllables (superheavy syllables) and diphtings are not extrametrical.

Quantity sensitivity:
In languages where the parameter ‘Quantity sensitivity’ is active, stress rules take into account the internal strucure of a rhyme. Quantity sensitive languages usually contrast syllables with long and short vowels and, optionally open and closed vowels. Because Dutch vowels are obligatorily long in open syllables, vowel length does not correspond to weight....
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