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Intervocalic /d/ and /r/
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The voiced alveolar plosive /d/ may alternate with /r/, provided it is intervocalic and in the onset position of an unstressed syllable. This so-called '/d/-rhotacism' has never been a productive phonological process, so only a small number of words have been affected by it.

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The voiced alveolar plosive /d/ may alternate with /r/, provided it is intervocalic and in the onset position of an unstressed syllable. This '/d/-rhotacism' is not, and has never been, an overly productive process and only a small number of words have been affected by it (see Veenstra (1989) and Veenstra (1991)). Some examples are given in (1):

Example 1

Examples of words affected by /d/-rhotacism
Fedde / Fêde /fɛ(:)də/ [a men's name] ~ Ferre / Fêre
noadich /noədəɣ/ necessary ~ noarich
nuddel /nødəl/ needle ~ nurrel
sûkelade /sukəla:də/ chocolate ~ sûkelarje
pudding /pødɪŋ/ pudding ~ purring
de /pudə/ bag; sack ~ re
wjûde /vjuəde/ to weed ~ wjûre

In some words, though, /r/ has more or less pushed /d/ aside:

Example 2

Words in which /r/ has pushed /d/ aside
arich /a:rəɣ/ nice ~ aardich /a:dəɣ/
hâre /hɔ:rə/ to keep; to hold ~ hâlde /hɔ:də/
siere /siərə/ to boil; to cook ~ siede /siədə/
starich /sta:rəɣ/ slow; calm, steady ~ stadich /sta:dəɣ/
wurre /vørə/ to become ~ wurde /vødə/

With the exception of noarich and sûkelarje, the forms with <r(r)> in the right-hand column of (1) are not recognized in the official spelling, which also holds for those in the left-hand column of (2). This is indicative of the fact that the form with /d/ is felt as 'basic'.

On the face of it, aardich is a complex word, consisting of the noun aard/a:d/nature and the adjectivizing suffix -ich/-əɣ/ (see -ich). Its meaning, nice, however, cannot be understood as compositional, so aardich is only a formally complex word. This is even clearer for stadich, since the part stad-/sta:d/ no longer is an independent word of Frisian.

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The element -aardich occurs as the final part of synthetic compounds, like the following:

Example 3

eigenaardich /aiɣən+a:d+əɣ/ peculiar [(lit.: of an own nature)]
goedaardich /ɡuəd+a:d+əɣ/ good-natured, kind-hearted; benign [(lit.: of a good nature)]
nuveraardich /ny:vər+a:d+əɣ/ strange, odd [(lit.: of a strange, odd nature)]
wreedaardich /vre:d+a:d+əɣ/ cruel [(lit.: of a cruel nature)]

With the possible exception of eigenaardich, the pronunciation of the part -aardich in these words is [-a:dəx] and not [a:rəx]. The same holds for folksaardich/[[[folk+s]+a:d]+əɣ]/characteristic of the common people, a derivation from the compound folksaard/[[folk+s]+aard]/national character. It should be noted that the above words do have a compositional meaning.

The verbs hâldeto keep; to hold, siedeto boil; to cook, and wurdeto become have acquired a new, /r/-final, present tense stem: /hɔ:r/, /siər/, and /vør/. These strong(/irregular) verbs have a separate past tense stem and past participle. In case of siede and wurde, the past tense stem may also end in /r/waar/va:r/ and sear/sɪər/, respectively. There are several indications for these /r/-final stems, which are listed below:

  • /r/ shows up in sentence-final position, as in
    Example 4

    Omdat ik net serieus nommen wur [vør] because I not seriously taken am Because I am not taken seriously
    Dat ik it hjir net mear úthâr [ythɔ:r] that I it here no more out hold That I cannot take it any longer here
    Dat er net goed waar [va:r] that he not good became That he became unwell
    Dat se altyd it iten sear [sɪər] that she always the food cooked That she always did the cooking
  • /r/ shows up in inflected forms, like
    Example 5

    Wy hâre [hɔ:rə] We keep; we hold
    Hja siere [siərə] jûn it iten they cook tonight the food They do the cooking tonight
    De boeken wurre [vørə] kreas ynbûn the books are neatly bound The books are neatly bound
    It foel net ta om jin goed te hâren [hɔ:rən] it fell not to for oneself good to hold It was not easy to keep a straight face; to bear up well
    Wy waren /va:r+ən/ [va:rn̩] dêr let en set we were there paid attention to and put We were treated courteously there
    Wy searen /sɪər+ən/ [sɪərn̩] dêr ús eigen iten we cooked there our own food We cooked our own food there
    Hy is net goed wurren /vør+ən/ [vørn̩] he is not good become He has become unwell
  • These stems are not followed by the clitic er (of the personal pronoun third person singular masculine hij/he), but by its allomorph der/dər/ (see Personal pronoun clitics). This prevents the forbidden sequence [*rər] from arising (see /d/-insertion in the sequences /nər/, /lər/, and /rər/). So, became he is either waar der[va:dr̩] (</va: der/ < /va:r der/) or waard er[va:tr̩] (</va:t er/ </va:d er/). In waar der, stemfinal /r/ is deleted before clitic-initial /d/ (see /r/-deletion in complex words derived with a suffix which contains the vowel schwa); in waard er stem-final /d/ undergoes Final Devoicing, before the clitic prosodically integrates with the verb.

These verbs, however, still also have a stem ending in /d/. Firstly, inflected forms with [-d-] occur alongside the above forms with [-r-], as the examples in (6) make clear:

Example 5

Examples of the above verbs with [-d-]
Wy hâlde [hɔ:də] We keep; we hold
Hja siede [siədə] jûn it iten they cook tonight the food They do the cooking tonight
De boeken wurde [vødə] noch kreas ynbûn the books are still neatly bound The books are still neatly bound
It foel net ta om jin goed te hâlden [hɔ:dən] it fell not to for oneself good to keep It was not easy to keep a straight face; to bear up well

Secondly, /d/ shows up in complex forms, like those in (7):

Example 6

Examples of complex forma in which the above verbs figure
hâlding /hɔ:d+ɪŋ/ position; pose; attitude
behâldend /[[bə+hɔ:d]+ənd]/ conservative
oanhâldend /[[oən+hɔ:d]ənd]/ continuous, persistent
izerhâldend /i:zər+hɔ:d+ənd/ ferriferous
ôfhâldich /[[ɔ:+hɔ:d]+əɣ]/ reserved, distant

The above words are realized with [-d-]; a realization with [-r-] sounds weird.

All in all, it seems plausible to assume that the forms with /d/ are basic. The relation between forms with /d/ and /r/ can be expressed as follows:

/d/ ~ /r/ relation

Figure 1

[click image to enlarge]

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For many speakers, the verb riere/riər+ə/to stir has become riede/riəd+ə/. It is noted in Sipma (1913:28,§115,point 3,note) that roere/ruər+ə/to move; to touch has the variant roede/ruəd+ə/. This vacillation points to the fact that there is a certain awareness of a relationship between (intervocalic) /d/ and /r/ on the part of the speakers of Frisian.

References:
  • Sipma, Pieter1913Phonology and Grammar of Modern West FrisianLondon, New YorkOxford University Press
  • Veenstra, Durk H1989/d/-rotasisme yn it Frysk, Fonetyske en fonologyske aspekten fan de oergong ynterfokalyske /d/ > /r/Tydskrift foar Fryske Taaklunde541-67
  • Veenstra, Durk H1991Ien en oar oer de dialektgeografyske kant fan /d/-rotasismeTydskrift foar Fryske Taalkunde61-27
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