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Generalizations on the placement of primary stress in Dutch
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The following basic generalizations are accepted by the majority of scholars (for comprehensive overviews, see Kager 1989 and Booij 1995). Note that none of these generalizations are exceptionless; they rather present (more or less strong) tendencies.

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Based on the power of these generalizations, (Kager 1989:225-240) divides his set into major and minor generalizations; they are given below. We divide the power of the generalizations into three categories:


Table 1
Category Definition
Strong No or few counter-examples
Solid Some counter-examples
Weak Various counter-examples

We provide a table illustrating each generalization. The four last syllables of a word are indicated and abbreviated as follows: PAPU (preantepenultimate), APU (antepenultimate), PU (penultimate), U (ultimate). Preferred patterns are marked green; disallowed patterns are marked red; minority patterns are marked yellow. Next to the general overview, each of the generalizations is discussed in more detail in a separate entry.

  • Major generalizations along the lines of Kager (1989)

Three-Syllable-Window: Primary stress does not deviate more than three syllables from the right edge of the word. Category: Strong


Table 2
PAPU APU PU U Examples
σ σ σ ˈσ economie[e.ko.no.'mi]economyfonologie[fo.no.lo.ˈɣi]phonology
σ σ ˈσ σ macaroni[ma.ka.'ro.ni]macaroniavocado[a.vo.'ka.do]avocado
σ ˈσ σ σ magnolia[max.'no.li.ja]magnoliatarantula[ta.ˈrɑn.ty.la]tarantula
* ˈσ σ σ σ economie[*'e.ko.no.mi]macaroni[*'ma.ka.ro.ni]tarantula[*ˈta.rɑn.ty.la]

Schwa in stress assignment: schwa is never stressed; primary stress occurs directly before a syllable containg schwa. Category: Strong


Table 3
APU PU U Examples
σ ˈσ ə palissade[pa.li.ˈsa.də]palisademirakel[mi.ˈra.kəl]miracle
* ˈσ σ ə palissade[*pa.ˈli.sa.də]mirakel[*ˈmi.ra.kəl]
* σ σ ˈə palissade[*pa.li.sa.ˈdə]mirakel[*mi.ra.ˈkəl]

Closed Penult Restriction: Primary stress cannot be on the antepenult if the penult is closed and contains a full vowel (B=B-class vowel, C=coda consonant). Category: Strong


Table 4
APU PU U Examples
σ ˈBC σ agenda[a.ˈɣɛn.da]agendavakantie[va.ˈkɑn.tsi]holidays
* ˈσ BC σ agenda[*ˈa.ɣɛn.da]vakantie[*ˈva.kɑn.tsi]

  • Minor generalizations along the lines of Kager (1989)

Words with superheavy final syllables (SH) have final primary stress. Category: Strong for DC and AC, solid for BCC (A=A-class vowel, B=B-class vowel, D=diphthong, C=coda consonant).


Table 5
APU PU U Examples
σ σ ˈSH avontuur[a.vɔn.ˈtyr]adventureserpentijn[sɛr.pɛn.ˈtɛin]serpentinedocument[do.ky.ˈmɛnt]document
* σ ˈσ SH avontuur[*a.ˈvɔn.tyr]serpentijn[*sɛr.ˈpɛn.tɛin]document[*do.ˈky.mɛnt]
* ˈσ σ SH avontuur[*ˈa.vɔn.tyr]serpentijn[*ˈsɛr.pɛn.tɛin]document[*ˈdo.ky.mɛnt]

Words with final diphthongs (D) have final primary stress (see diphthong restriction). Category: Strong


Table 6
APU PU U Examples
σ σ ˈD batterij[bɑ.tə.ˈrɛi]batterylakei[la.ˈkɛi]lackey
* σ ˈσ D batterij[*bɑ.ˈtə.rɛi]lakei[*ˈla.kɛi]
* ˈσ σ D batterij[*ˈbɑ.tə.rɛi]

Words with final (closed) B-class vowel (BC) syllables have antepenultimate stress. Category: Weak. Penultimate primary stress is very rare. Several forms (mostly French loanwords) have final primary stress.


Table 7
APU PU U Examples
ˈσ σ BC albatros[ˈɑl.ba.trɔs]albatrosscarnaval[ˈkɑr.na.vɑl]carnival
* σ ˈσ BC albatros[*ɑl.ˈba.trɔs]carnaval[*kɑr.ˈna.vɑl]
* σ σ ˈBC albatros[*ɑl.ba.ˈtrɔs]carnaval[*kɑr.na.ˈvɑl]But: apostrof[a.pos.ˈtrɔf]apostrophecarrousel[kɑ.ru.ˈsɛl]carousel

Words with A-class vowels (A) in open final syllables have penultimate primary stress. Category: Solid for disyllabic forms, weak for trisyllabic forms.

Table 8
APU PU U Examples
σ ˈσ A angora[aŋ.ˈɣo.ra]angorasolo['so.lo]solo
* σ σ ˈA angora[*aŋ.ɣo.ˈra]solo[*so.'lo]But: orchidee[ɔr.xi.ˈde]orchidkopie[ko.'pi]copy
* ˈσ σ A angora[*ˈaŋ.ɣo.ra]But:omega[ˈo.me.ɣa]omegabroccoli[ˈbrɔ.ko.li]broccoli

References:
  • Booij, Geert1995The phonology of DutchOxfordOxford University Press
  • Kager, René1989A Metrical Theory of Stress and Destressing in English and DutchDordrechtForis
  • Kager, René1989A Metrical Theory of Stress and Destressing in English and DutchDordrechtForis
  • Kager, René1989A Metrical Theory of Stress and Destressing in English and DutchDordrechtForis
  • Kager, René1989A Metrical Theory of Stress and Destressing in English and DutchDordrechtForis
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