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Combinations of [i] plus the homorganic glide [j] display a strong tendency to avoid stress. This occurs in words with more than two syllables, yet under two conditions:

  1. the combination occurs in the last two syllables of the word
  2. the glide is the onset of an open syllable (as for instance in word-final [ija] or [ijo:]

[+] Quadrisyllabic monomorphemic words

Quadrisyllabic monomorphemic words display the tendency to have an alternating stress pattern (see alternating stress patterns), with primary stress on the third syllable and secondary stress on the first one. However, if the last two syllables consist of the (disyllabic) sequence [ija], primary stress falls on the antepenult:

Example 1

magnolia [maɣ.'noə.li.ja] magnolia
petunia /pe:.'ty.ni.ja/ petunia
[hide extra information]

The word petuniapetunia has been transcribed as [pe:.'ty.ni.ja] here, with the A-class vowel [e:]. Being in unstressed position, however, the latter may also be realized as schwa: [pə.'ty.ni.ja].

[+] Trisyllabic words

Trisyllabic monomorphemic words show a similar pattern, in that primary stress on the last two syllables is avoided, as shown in (2):

Example 2

ratio [ˈra:.tsi.jo:] ratio
radio ['ra:.di.jo:] radio
loempia ['lum.pi.ja] spring roll
hernia ['hɛr.ni.ja] hernia
sangria ['saŋ.ɡri.ja] sangria

There are some counterexamples to this pattern, restricted to proper nouns:

Example 3

Tanzania [tan.za.'ni.ja] Tanzania
Sjaria [sja:.'ri.ja] Sharia
Maria [ma:.'ri.ja] Mary
Jeremia [je:.re.'mi.ja] Jeremiah
[hide extra information]

The proper noun JeremiaJeremiah has been transcribed as /je:.re.'mi.ja/, with [e:]; in this position, preceding /r/, however, the latter is commonly realized as the centring diphthong [ɪə] or just the full vowel [ɪ]: [jɪə.re.'mi.ja] or [jɪr.re.'mi.ja] (with an ambisyllabic [r]).

[+] Disyllabic words

In disyllabic words which contain [i] and the homorganic glide [j], stress is on the penultimate, as shown in (4):

Example 4

dia ['di.ja] slide
fia ['fi.ja] via
trio ['tri.jo:] trio
[+] Words containing schwa

Schwa may influence the stress placement (it cannot bear stress). In cases where the antepenultimate syllable contains schwa, primary stress falls on the penultimate, provided it contains a high vowel:

Example 5

pizzeria [pi.dzə.'ri.ja] pizzeria

When the final, glide-initial syllable contains schwa ([-ijə]), stress is on the penultimate as well, of which (6) gives examples. It should be noted that the high-vowel-plus-homorganic-glide-restriction is violated in these words.

Example 6

fanylje [fan.'ni.jə] vanilla
eskadrille [ɛs.ka.'dri.jə] air wing
pastylje [pas.'ti.jə] pastille
[hide extra information]

The words fanyljevanilla and pastyljepastille may also be realized as [fan.'nil.jə] and [pas.'til.jə], with [l] between [i] and [jə] (in accordance with the spelling). The high-vowel-plus-homorganic-glide-restriction has no bearing on such words, which obey the closed penult restriction.

Examples where [ijə] avoids stress are given in (7) below. It mainly concerns toponyms (exonyms):

Example 7

Australië [ɔw.'stra:.li.jə] Australia
Argentinië [ar.ɣɛn.'ti.ni.jə] Argentina
Bosnië ['bos.ni.jə] Bosnia
Brazilië [bras.'si.li.jə] Brazil
Etiopië [e:.ti.'jo:.pi.jə] Ethiopia
Georgië [ɡe:.'jɔr.ɣi.jə] Georgia
agrariër [aɡ.'ɡra:.ri.jər] farmer
fegetariër [fe:.ɣe.'ta:.ri.jər] vegetarian
[hide extra information]
x Literature

In Dutch, toponyms are often the sole apparent exceptions to otherwise strong restrictions on stress assignment. Köhnlein (2014), however, argues that closer inspection reveals that they display the stress behaviour which is characteristic of morphologically complex words, derived via suffixation or compounding, and that similar patterns are found in place names in various other languages.

[+] Word-internal combinations of /i/ plus glide

The high-vowel-plus-homorganic-glide restriction does not hold for the word-internal sequence /ij/. As shown by the examples in (8), words containing this sequence have primary stress on the syllable beginning with the glide, stress on the high vowel being avoided:

Example 8

pyama [pi.'ja:.ma] pyjamas
piano [pi.'ja:.no:] piano
[+] Non-homorganic high vowel plus glide sequences

Stress on a syllable preceding the glide is possible in cases where a) the vowel is not high, and b) the vowel and the glide are not homorganic:

Example 9

papaja [pap.'pa:.ja] papaya
halleluja [hal.le:.'ly.ja] hallelujah

Furthermore, stress is not prohibited in an /ij/ combination in case the word-final syllable, beginning with the glide [j], is closed; the vowel in that syllable can be either an A-class vowel, a B-class vowel or a diphthong:

Example 10

kaviaar [kav.vi.'ja:r] caviar
legioen [le:.ɣi.'juən] legion
bastion [bas.ti.'jon] bastion
sjampinjon [sjam.pi.'jon] mushroom
lampion [lam.pi.'jon] paper lantern
proviand [pro:.vi.'jɔnt] provisions
  • Köhnlein, Björn2014The morphological structure of complex place names: the case of Dutch
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