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Suffix allomorphy
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A number of suffixes have more than one phonetic shape, both native and borrowed ones, that is, they exhibit allomorphy. An example of such allomorphy is the alternation between -er and -der in schrijv-er[ˈsxrɛivər]writer versus bestuur-der[bəˈstyrdər]governor. The extra /d/ in bestuur-der serves to avoid the sequence /rǝr/ which is prohibited by the /*rǝr/-constraint. This illustrates that allomorphy may have a phonological motivation. In the case of non-native suffixation, the allomorphy reflects allomorphy patterns of the source languages. For instance, the alternation between -eur and -oor in direct-eur[dirɛkˈtør]directordirect-or-aat[dirɛktoˈrat]directorship is a reflex of an alternation in French known as the

Learned Vowel Backing Rule
Front vowels become back in a suffix before another suffix.

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The following Dutch suffixes exhibit allomorphy:

Example 1

native suffixes
a. -er / -der  (nominal suffix)
schrijv-er [ˈsxrɛivər] writer
bestuur-der [bəˈstyrdər] governor, administrator
b. -er / -der (comparative suffix)
grot-er [ˈɣrotər] bigger
raar-der [ˈrardər] stranger
c. -erig / -derig
vret-erig [ˈvretərəx] inclined to eat a lot
zeur-derig [ˈzørdərəx] nagging
d. -erij / -derij
stom-erij [stoməˈrɛi] dry cleaning shop
boer-derij [burdəˈrɛi] farm house
e. -er / -aar / -enaar
Amsterdamm-er [ɑmstərˈdɑmər] inhabitant of Amsterdam
Leiden-aar [lɛidəˈnar] inhabitant of Leiden
Utrecht-enaar [ytrɛxtəˈnar] inhabitant of Utrecht
f. -erij / -arij
smed-erij [smedəˈrɛi] forge
kibbel-arij [kɪbəlaˈrɛi] squabbling
g. -tje / -je / -pje / -kje / -etje (diminutive suffix)
traan-tje [ˈtrantjə] tear-DIM
huis-je [ˈhœyʃjə] house-DIM
riem-pje [ˈrimpjə] belt-DIM
konin-kje [ˈkonɪŋkjə] king-DIM
ring-etje [ˈrɪŋətjə] ring-DIM
h. -tjes / -jes / -pjes / -etjes (adverbial suffix)
gewoontjes [xəˈʋontjəs] ordinarily, commonly
stilletjes [ˈstɪlətjəs] quietly
warmpjes [ˈʋɑrmpjəs] warmly
zachtjes [ˈzɑx(t)jəs] softly
Example 2

non-native suffixes
a. -eel / aal
fundament-eel [fʏndamɛnˈtel] fundamental
fundament-al-ist [fyndamɛntaˈlɪst] fundamentalist
b. -air / -aar
milit-air [miliˈtɛːr] military
milit-ar-ist [militaˈrɪst] militarist
c. -eur / -oor
direct-eur [dirɛkˈtør] director
direct-or-aat [dirɛktoˈrat] directorate
d. -eus / -oos
nerv-eus [nɛrˈvøs] nervous
nerv-os-iteit [nɛrvoziˈtɛit] nervousness
e. -iek / -ic [is]
kathol-iek [katoˈlik] catholic
kathol-ic-isme [katoliˈsismə] catholicism
f. -eur / -eus / -ric
mont-eur [mɔnˈtør] technician
mont-eus-e [mɔnˈtøzə] technician fem.
ambassad-eur [ɑmbɑsaˈdør] ambassador
ambassad-ric-e [ɑmbɑsaˈdrisə] ambassador fem.

The allomorphy in (1a-d) has to do with the avoidance of the sequences /rǝr/. This is the /*rǝr/-constraint (Booij 1998).

The allomorphy between -er, -aar, and -enaar in (1e-f) has to do with the avoidance of a sequence of syllables with a schwa as their vowel. An alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables is preferred (Booij 1998).

The phonological alternations in (1g-h) are specific for diminutives. The selection of a particular allomorph is governed by the phonological shape of the stem.

The allomorphy in (2a-d) is borrowed from French, and known as the Learned Vowel Backing Rule(Dell and Selkirk 1978). The allomorphy in (2e-f) is also borrowed from French.

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The competition between the two plural suffixes for Dutch nouns, -en and -s, is sometimes seen as a case of allomorphy, since they are two phonological manifestations of the same grammatical morpheme plural. The choice between these two suffixes or allomorphs is governed by a phonological constraint as far as native words is concerned: -en after a stressed syllable, -s after an unstressed syllable (see inflection of nouns). However, non-native nouns may select -s even after a stressed syllable, as in tram-s[trɛms][trɑms]trams, and flat-s[flɛts]flats. In addition, specific suffixes may require a particular plural suffix. For instance, nouns ending in -ing always select -en, and diminutive nouns always select -s. Hence, allomorphy may be governed by phonological, morphological and stratal factors.

References:
  • Booij, Geert1998Prosodic output constraints in morphologyKehrein, Wolfgang & Wiese, Richard (eds.)Phonology and morphology of the Germanic languagesTübingenNiemeyer143-163
  • Booij, Geert1998Prosodic output constraints in morphologyKehrein, Wolfgang & Wiese, Richard (eds.)Phonology and morphology of the Germanic languagesTübingenNiemeyer143-163
  • Dell, François & Selkirk, Elisabeth1978On a morphologically governed vowel alternation in FrenchRecent transformational studies in European languagesCambridge Mass.MITPress1-52
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