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Penultimate stress as the default location of primary stress in Dutch?
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Many longer words in Dutch have penultimate stress. Stress attraction to the penultimate syllable is particularly strong if the penultimate syllable is closed or contains a diphthong (yet diphthongs also attract stress in final position of a word); yet a preference for penultimate stress can also be seen in cases where both the penult and the final syllable are open and contain A-class vowels (A).

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[+] Disyllabic words

The preference is most clearly visible in disyllabic words of the structure A-A, where 136 out of 165 items in Celex (Baayen 1995) have penultimate stress, and only 29 have final stress.

Example 1

Penultimate primary stress in words of the structure A-A
aqua [ˈa.kʋa] aqua
bruto [ˈbry.to] gross
flora ['flo.ra] flora
goeroe ['xu.ru] guru
pizza ['pi.tsa] pizza
saga [ˈsa.ɣa] saga
Example 2

Final primary stress in words of the structure A-A
aha [a.'ha] aha
café [kɑ.ˈfe] café
cliché [kli.ˈʃe] cliché
rosé [ro.'ze] rosé
taboe [ta.'bu] taboo
[+] Trisyllabic words

In trisyllabic words of the structure A-A-A, the Celex database only shows a very slight preference for penultimate stress (55 out of 120) over antepenultimate stress (47 out of 120) and final stress (18 out of 120).

Example 3

Penultimate primary stress in words of structure A-A-A
arena [a.'re.na] arena
casino [ka.'zi.no] casino
kanarie [ka.'na.ri] canary
munitie [my.'ni.tsi] ammunition
opinie [o.'pi.ni] opinion
politie [po.'li.tsi] police
spinazie [spi.'na.zi] spinach
Example 4

Antepenultimate stress in words of the structure A-A-A
alibi ['a.li.bi] alibi
kolibri ['ko.li.bri] hummingbird
patio ['pa.tsi.jo] patio
platina ['pla.ti.na] platinum
video ['vi.de.jo] video
Example 5

Final primary stress in words of structure A-A-A
calorie [ka.lo.'ri] calorie
chocola [ʃo.ko.ˈla] chocolate
kariboe [ka.ri.'bu] caribou
negligé [ne.gli.ˈʒe] négligée
parodie [pa.ro.'di] parody
[+] Quadrisyllabic words

In quadrisyllabic words of the structure A-A-A-A, penultimate stress is not the most frequent pattern in Celex: 12 of 22 items have antepenultimate stress, eight have penultimate stress, two have final stress; yet note that nine of the twelve items with antepenultimate stress end in [–ija], a context that strongly disfavors stress. Thus, leaving these words aside, we would find a preference for penultimate stress.

Example 6

Final primary stress in words of the structure A-A-A-A
azoturie [a.zo.ty.'ri] azoturia
charivari [xa.ri.va.'ri] charivari
Example 7

Antepenultimate primary stress in words of the structure A-A-A-A
acacia [a.'ka.si.ja] acacia
alinea [a.'li.ne.ja] paragraph
majolica [ma.'jo.li.la] maiolica
clavicula [kla.'vi.ku.la] collarbone
Example 8

Penultimate primary stress in words of the structure A-A-A-A
avocado [a.vo.'ka.do] avocado
furioso [fy.ri.'jo.zo] furioso
maharishi [ma.ha.ˈri.ʃi] maharishi
oregano [o.re.ˈɣa.no] oregano
ravioli [ra.vi.'jo.li] ravioli
References:
  • Baayen, R. Harald, Piepenbrock, Richard & Gulikers, L1995The CELEX Lexical Database (CD-ROM), Release 2, Dutch Version 3.1
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