Phonology And The Dutch Stress

Satisfactory Essays
The Dutch stress sytem

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:

VV# Amérika macaróni individú
VC# Jerúzalem catamáran kameleón

Furthermore, stress is restricted to a two-syllable windowin words containing a prefinal (or diphtongal) 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.
-VV-VV Pánama pyjáma chocolá
-VV-VC báriton célebes pelotón
-VC-VV agénda frikandéau
-VC-VC Gibráltar bombardón
-ViVj-VV andíjvie

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

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:
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