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Rhyme
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The rhyme is an obligatory syllableconstituent, which can optionally branch into a nucleus and a coda. The nucleus is obligatory; the coda is optional.


Figure 1

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[+] General information and examples

According to Booij (1995:26) and Trommelen (1984), a rhyme in Dutch consists of at least two and maximally three positions. The rhyme structures in figure 2 (i-iv) are attested in Dutch as illustrated by the examples in (1). The diphthongs in examples (1d) and (1f) pattern with the A-class vowels in examples (1c) and (1e). Notice that the representations in (2) are not allowed in Dutch (see also figure 3 (v-vii)).


Figure 2

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Example 1

a. ram /rɑm/ [rɑm] ram (cf. (i))
b. ramp /rɑmp/ [rɑmp] disaster (cf. (ii))
c. la /la/ [la] drawer (cf. (iii))
d. lui /lœy/ [lœy] lazy (cf. (iii))
e. raam /ram/ [ram] window (cf. (iv))
f. ruim /rœym/ [rœym] spacious (cf. (iv))
Example 2

a. /*rɑ/ (B-class vowel + no coda; cf. (v))
b. /*zɑlmp/ (B-class vowel + ternary branching coda consisting of non-coronal consonants; cf. (vi))
c. /*ramp/ (A-class vowel + branching coda consisting of non-coronal consonants; cf. (vii))
d. /*ruimp/ (diphthong + branching coda consisting of non-coronal consonants; cf. (vii))


Figure 3

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However, a few exceptional cases to the fact stated in (2c) can be found in Dutch. In words like twaalf/tʋalf/[tʋalf]twelve or Weesp/ʋesp/[ʋesp]place name, an A-class vowel precedes a consonant cluster of non-coronals, resulting in a sequence of four rhyme positions. The same holds for the past tense forms of some strong verbs, e.g. hielp/hilp/[hilp]help.SG.PSThelped or stierf/stirf/[stirf]die.SG.PSTdied, and a few words ending in /-rn/, e.g. hoorn/horn/[hor(ə)n]horn or lantaarn/lɑntarn/[lɑnˈtar(ə)n]streetlamp (all examples in this paragraph are taken from Booij (1995: 26, footnote 8) who also mentions that -rn clusters tend to be reduced with the help of schwa epenthesis).

Words like herfst/hɛrfst/[hɛrfst]autumn, fall or promptst[prɔmptst][prɔmp(t)st]most prompt seem to be additional counterexamples to the fact stated in (2b). However, it can be observed that Dutch generally allows for extra-long consonant sequences at the end of prosodic words ('edge of constituent phenomena', see Moulton 1956, Booij 1983). In addition to the maximally three positions of the rhyme, Dutch allows for three additional prosodic word-final appendix positions, which can only be filled by coronals (cf. coda).

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x

Whereas the type of coda consonants in structures like in (1e) is unrestricted in word-final position, Trommelen (1984:121) observes that some restrictions apply in word-medial coda positions (cf. also phonotactics at the word level). The examples in table (1) illustrate that on the face of it A-class vowels can solely be followed by obstruents (column 1) in word-medial coda position. Column 3 provides evidence that sonorants are not generally excluded as word-medial coda consonants.

Table 1
bauksiet/bɑuk.sit/bauxite teempo/tem.po/ tempo/tɛm.po/tempo
hypnose/hip.no.sə/hypnosis oomnibus/om.ni.bʏs/ omnibus/ɔm.ni.bʏs/bus
vreugde/vrøɣ.də/joy peerzik/per.zɪk/ perzik/pɛr.zɪk/peach
klooster/klos.tər/convent oorkest/or.kɛst/ orkest/ɔr.kɛst/orchestra
However, Trommelen (1984) and Booij (1995:34, see also for further references) state that there are quite a few monomorphemic exceptions to this coda constraint as displayed in (3). Furthermore, the constraint does not hold for morphologically complex words as illustrated by maanden/man.də(n)/month-PLmonths and talmde/tɑlm.də/hesitate.PSThesitated.

Example 3

a. aalmoes /al.mus/ [ˈalmus] alms
b. aarde /ar.də/ [ˈardə] earth
c. loempia /lum.pia/ [ˈlumpia] egg rolls
d. tournee /tur.ne/ [turˈne] tour
e. journaal /ʒur.nal/ [ˈʒurnal] news broadcast
[+] Vowel quantity, vowel quality or syllable structure?

The description given above stating that rhymes in Dutch consist of minimally two and maximally three positions relies crucially on the assumption that Dutch distinguishes quantitatively short and long vowels, i.e. vowels that either occupy one or two nuclear positions (X-slots, x-positions; cf. Moulton 1962, Zonneveld 1978, Trommelen 1984, Van der Hulst 1984, Booij 1995, Kooij and Van Oostendorp 2003). B-class vowels count as monopositional; A-class vowels count as bipositional in accordance with diphthongs. Although the length distinction approach is able to capture the differing behaviour of the two classes of vowels with respect to syllable structure (see examples (1) and (2)) and stress assignment, the approach has to face some shortcomings.

Van Oostendorp (1995; 2000) discusses seven problematic issues that arise from following a length-contrast approach in vowels. First, it is problematic that in a quantity based account the high A-class vowels/i, y, u/ pattern with the short vowels, i.e. B-class vowels, in their phonetic length even though they pattern with the non-high long vowels /e, o, ø, a/ phonologically. (Gussenhoven (2009) observes that "[u]nlike what appears to be generally assumed, the long tense vowels of Dutch are only longer than short vowels in stressed syllables, i.e., in the head of the foot".) Furthermore, a vowel-quantity based account must stipulate that schwa is a phonologically long vowel, although phonetically short, since it does occur in open syllables word-finally (cf. stage/sta.ʒə/internship) and cannot precede branching codas consisting of non-coronals (arend/arənd/eagle but /*arəmp/; cf. Botma & Van Oostendorp 2012). Second, Van Oostendorp points out that a vowel-quantity based account has problematic consequences from a typological point of view, too. It implies that Dutch possesses the syllable types CVC and CVV (possibly also CVCC and CVVC) but lacks the CV type - making Dutch a typologically highly marked language. Moreover, following this approach, Dutch seems to be a weight-sensitive language in which only closed CVC syllables and CVV syllables containing diphthongs count as heavy whereas CVV syllables containing A-class vowels or schwa count as light or even as superlight. The fourth problematic issue is related to the distribution of A-class vowels and B-class vowels in the Dutch vowel inventory. Trubetzkoy (1939) observed that, given a natural class of segments that gets decomposed into two disjoint subsets based on some phonological property, the larger subset is normally the unmarked one. This assumption runs counter to the fact that the larger set of bipositional A-class vowels is structurally more complex and should therefore be presumed to be more marked than the monopositional B-class vowels. Another problematic issue is the fact that certain morpheme structure constraints seem to make reference to a difference in quality of the vowels rather than their quantity. Sequences like /jɪ-/ and /ʋʏ-/ are acceptable in Dutch, whereas /*ji-/, /*ʋy-/ and /*ʋø-/ are not. This difference is hard to capture with a vowel-quantity based approach since the corresponding vowels would differ exclusively in the number of occupied positions, i.e. their phonological quality is identical. As the sixth issue, Van Oostendorp claims that secret languages and language games treat A-class vowels as units and, crucially, as identical to B-class vowels although a difference can usually be found in other languages (see references in Van Oostendorp 1995; 2000). Lastly, Van Oostendorp mentions cross-dialectal evidence from Dutch varieties that provide vowels differing in quantity and quality. He proposes that the contrast in quality might be underlying and that the difference in quantity is "invoke[d by] a special mechanism" that is active in Dutch anyway and has received phonological status in these particular dialectal areas.

The alternative approach mentioned in the last paragraph assumes that a contrast in tenseness is underlyingly active to differentiate between the two types of Dutch vowels (cf. Cohen 1959, De Rijk 1967, Smith et al. 1989, Hermans 1992, Van Oostendorp 1995, 2000, Gussenhoven 2009). All the other properties, i.e. the distribution of occurrence in open vs. closed syllables or phonetic length, are derived from the difference in tenseness. Smith et al. (1989) understand tenseness as equivalent to ATR (advanced tongue root) or rather its phonetic correspondent of pharyngeal expansion. They specify tense vowels, i.e. A-class vowels, with a dependent [I] element in contrast to lax vowels, i.e. B-class vowels, which lack this specification. Schwa is not specified for any phonological feature, which leaves unaccounted for that schwa patterns distributionally with tense vowels in open and closed syllables. Motivated by this last fact, Van Oostendorp (1995, 2000) alternatively proposes that B-class vowels should be specified by the monovalent feature [lax] (or [-ATR]) instead. The lax specification not only captures the similarities between A-class vowels and schwa, it also leaves the larger set of A-class vowels less complex compared to the smaller set of B-class vowels. To cover the fact that lax vowels exclusively occur in closed syllables, Van Oostendorp introduced the projection constraint Connect(N, [lax]), which is, roughly, defined as:

projection constraint - Connect(N, [lax])
The head of an N projection has the feature [lax] iff the structure N branches.
The account based on tenseness solves the above-mentioned problematic issues that the length-based account faced. However, two problems still remain (cf. Botma and Van Oostendorp 2012 for a more detailed discussion). First, the actual phonetic realization of the features tense/ATR (advanced tongue root) and lax/-ATR/RTR (retracted tongue root) is not fully understood for Dutch. Assuming that phonological features should be grounded phonetically, the aforementioned features should have consistent phonetic correlates. However, these have not been found yet. Second, there is the problem of duplication. As mentioned before, B-class vowels exclusively occur in closed syllables, whereas A-class vowels and schwa can also occur in open syllables. Any distinction of B-class vowels from the other vowels based on a particular feature specification will be restated at the syllabic level. In Smith et al. (1989) syllabification principles are formulated that prohibit lax vowels to occur in open syllables; in Van Oostendorp (1995, 2000) the same result is enforced via the projection constraint CONNECT(N, lax).

A third approach assumes that the phonological distinction of A-class vowels and B-class vowels holds at the prosodic level, i.e. allowing for a branching or non-branching rhyme structure. All other phonetic properties, i.e. differences in length and tenseness, are a direct result of underlying syllable structure and subsequent stress assignment (cf. Botma and Van Oostendorp 2012). The underlying idea can already be found in the work of pre-/early structuralists - the contrast of 'strongly cut' and 'weakly cut' vowels (cf. the concept of syllable cut/Silbenschnitt in Sievers 1901; Trubetzkoy 1939;Botma and van Oostendorp 2012; cf. also Vennemann 1991 for a similar phenomenon in German).

References:
  • Booij, Geert1983Principles and parameters in prosodic phonologyLinguistics21249-80
  • Booij, Geert1995The phonology of DutchOxfordOxford University Press
  • Booij, Geert1995The phonology of DutchOxfordOxford University Press
  • Booij, Geert1995The phonology of DutchOxfordOxford University Press
  • Booij, Geert1995The phonology of DutchOxfordOxford University Press
  • Botma, Bert & Oostendorp, Marc van2012A propos of the Dutch vowel system 21 years on, 22 years onPhonological Explorations: Empirical, Theoretical and Diachronic IssuesBerlinMouton de Gruyter
  • Botma, Bert & Oostendorp, Marc van2012A propos of the Dutch vowel system 21 years on, 22 years onPhonological Explorations: Empirical, Theoretical and Diachronic IssuesBerlinMouton de Gruyter
  • Botma, Bert & Oostendorp, Marc van2012A propos of the Dutch vowel system 21 years on, 22 years onPhonological Explorations: Empirical, Theoretical and Diachronic IssuesBerlinMouton de Gruyter
  • Botma, Bert & Oostendorp, Marc van2012A propos of the Dutch vowel system 21 years on, 22 years onPhonological Explorations: Empirical, Theoretical and Diachronic IssuesBerlinMouton de Gruyter
  • Cohen, Antonie, Ebeling, C.L., Eringa, P., Fokkema, K. & Holk, A.G.F. van1959Fonologie van het Nederlands en het Fries: Inleiding tot de moderne klankleerMartinus Nijhoff
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos2009Vowel duration, syllable quantity and stress in DutchThe nature of the word. Essays in honor of Paul KiparskyCambridge, MA.; LondonMIT Press181--198
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos2009Vowel duration, syllable quantity and stress in DutchThe nature of the word. Essays in honor of Paul KiparskyCambridge, MA.; LondonMIT Press181--198
  • Hermans, Ben1992On the representation of quasi-long vowels in Dutch and LimburgianBok-Bennema, R. & Hout, R. van (eds.)Linguistics in the NetherlandsAmsterdam
  • Hulst, Harry van der1984Syllable structure and stress in DutchDordrechtForis
  • Kooij, Jan & Oostendorp, Marc van2003Fonologie. Uitnodiging tot de klankleer van het NederlandsAmsterdamAmsterdam University Press
  • Moulton, William G1956Syllable nuclei and final consonant clusters in GermanFor Roman Jakobson: Essays on the occasion of his sixtieth birthdayMouton
  • Moulton, William G1962The vowels of Dutch: phonetic and distributional classesLingua11294-312
  • Oostendorp, Marc van1995Vowel Quality and Phonological ProjectionTilburg UniversityThesis
  • Oostendorp, Marc van1995Vowel Quality and Phonological ProjectionTilburg UniversityThesis
  • Oostendorp, Marc van1995Vowel Quality and Phonological ProjectionTilburg UniversityThesis
  • Oostendorp, Marc van1995Vowel Quality and Phonological ProjectionTilburg UniversityThesis
  • Oostendorp, Marc van1995Vowel Quality and Phonological ProjectionTilburg UniversityThesis
  • Oostendorp, Marc van2000Phonological ProjectionNiemeyer
  • Oostendorp, Marc van2000Phonological ProjectionNiemeyer
  • Oostendorp, Marc van2000Phonological ProjectionNiemeyer
  • Oostendorp, Marc van2000Phonological ProjectionNiemeyer
  • Oostendorp, Marc van2000Phonological ProjectionNiemeyer
  • Rijk, Rudolf de1967Apropos of the Dutch vowel systemMIT
  • Sievers, Eduard1901Grundzüge der PhonetikWiesbadenBreitkopf und Kärtel
  • Smith, Norval S.H., Bolognesi, Roberto, Leeuw, Frank van der, Rutten, Jean & Wit, Helen de1989Apropos of the Dutch vowel system 21 years onLinguistics in the Netherlands 1989DordrechtForis133--142
  • Smith, Norval S.H., Bolognesi, Roberto, Leeuw, Frank van der, Rutten, Jean & Wit, Helen de1989Apropos of the Dutch vowel system 21 years onLinguistics in the Netherlands 1989DordrechtForis133--142
  • Smith, Norval S.H., Bolognesi, Roberto, Leeuw, Frank van der, Rutten, Jean & Wit, Helen de1989Apropos of the Dutch vowel system 21 years onLinguistics in the Netherlands 1989DordrechtForis133--142
  • Trommelen, Mieke1984The Syllable in DutchDordrechtForis
  • Trommelen, Mieke1984The Syllable in DutchDordrechtForis
  • Trommelen, Mieke1984The Syllable in DutchDordrechtForis
  • Trommelen, Mieke1984The Syllable in DutchDordrechtForis
  • Trubetzkoy, Nikolai S1939Grundzüge der PhonologiePragueJednota českých matematiků a fysiků
  • Trubetzkoy, Nikolai S1939Grundzüge der PhonologiePragueJednota českých matematiků a fysiků
  • Vennemann, Theo1991Syllable structure and syllable cut prosodies in Modern Standard GermanBertinetto, Pier Marco, Kenstowicz, Michael & Loporcaro, Michele (eds.)Certamen Phonologicum II. Papers from the 1990 Cortona Phonology MeetingTurin211-243
  • Zonneveld, Wim1978A formal theory of exceptions in generative phonologyDordrechtForis
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