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Nouns with final schwa as the left-hand member of compounds
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Nouns with a plural ending in -en (/-ən/) have an allomorph ending in schwa if they are the left-hand member of a compound. This allomorphy is the subject of this topic.

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As the left-hand member of compounds, many nouns have an allomorph which ends in schwa. Some examples are given in (1):

Table 1: NN compounds with a left-hand member ending in schwa: Monosyllabic nouns
knine#hok/kninə-/rabbit cage cf. knyn/knin/rabbit and kninen/knin+ən/rabbits
ape#nut/a:pə-/monkey nut, peanut cf. aap/a:p/monkey and apen/a:p+ən/monkeys
heite#lân/haitə-/(native) country(lit. father land) cf. heit/hajt/father and heiten/hajt+ən/fathers
memme#taal/mɛmə-/mother tongue(lit. mother language) cf. mem/mɛm/mother and memmen/mɛm+ən/mothers
toske#dokter/toskə-/dentist(lit. tooth doctor) cf. tosk/tosk/tooth and tosken/tosk+ən/teeth

Table 2: NN compounds with a left-hand member ending in schwa: Polysyllabic nouns ending in a stressed syllable
kastiele#tocht/kastiələ-/tour along castles cf. kas'tiel/kastiəl/castle and kastielen/kastiəl+ən/castles
riviere#rjocht/riviərə-/International River Law cf. ri'vier/riviər/river and rivieren/riviər+ən/rivers
studinte#tiid/stydɪntə-/college days(lit. student time) cf. stu'dint/stydɪnt/student and studinten/stydɪnt+ən/students

Table 3: NN compounds with a left-hand member ending in schwa: (Monosyllabic) nouns without overt plural form
berne#boek/bɛnə-/children's book cf. bern/bɛ:n/child; children
skieppe#tsiis/skjɪpə-/sheep's cheese cf. skiep/skiəp/sheep (singular and plural form)

Table 4: NN compounds with a left-hand member ending in schwa: (Monosyllabic) nouns with an irregular plural form
kowe#fleis/ko:wə-/beef cf. ko/ko:/cow and kij/kɛj/cows

Table 5: NN compounds with a left-hand member ending in schwa: Inherently plural nouns
hûnsdage#waar/hu:nzda:ɣə-/weather typical for the dog days cf. hûnsdagen/hu:nzda:ɣən/dog days
sake#man/sa:kə-/businessman cf. saken/sa:k+ən/business

As to nouns with an overt plural form, is is only those which select the plural marker /-ən/ that may have a compound allomorph in /-ə/. These are (countable) nouns which are either monosyllabic or which contain more than one full vowel (sequence) and end in a stressed syllable (see table (1) and table (2)). The following noun classes also have this allomorph:

  • nouns with a plural form without plural marker, like bernchild and skiepsheep (see table (3));
  • nouns with an irregular plural form, like kocow (see table (4) above);
  • inherently plural nouns which end in /-ən/, like sakenbusiness and hûns#dagendog days (see table (5)).
The allomorph can have both a singular and a plural interpretation, as in knine#jachtshooting of rabbits (cf. jacht/jaxt/hunting, shooting) and knine#felskin of a rabbit (cf. fel/fɛl/skin). We might express the relation between base form and allomorph as follows:
base form-compound allomorph relation

Figure 1

[click image to enlarge]
condition
The base noun either selects the plural ending /-ən/, it has an irregular plural, it is an inherently plural noun in /-ən/ or it does not have an overt plural form.

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x

Inherently plural nouns not ending in /-ən/, like klean/klɪən+∅/clothes, mûzels/muzəl+s/measles, and simmels/sɪməl+s/bran do not not have this kind of allomorph, as can be seen in compounds like those in (1):

Example 1

klean#kast wardrobe ; cf. kast /kɔst/ cupboard
mûzel#prip measles vaccination ; cf. prip /prɪp/ injection
simmel#brea rye bread with bran ; cf. brea /brɪə/ rye bread
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The relation between the plural form in /-ən/ and the compound allomorph in /-ə/ is also clear from the fact that in case a noun with a centring diphthong or a long monophthong has a plural with a broken diphthong (see Breaking: the environment) or a short vowel (see Vowel Shortening), it is the vowel of the plural form which shows up in the allomorph. Examples are provided below:

Table 6
beam/bɪəm/tree ~ beamme#rige/bjɛmə-/row, line of trees cf. beammen/bjɛm+ən/trees
goes/ɡuəz/goose ~ guozze#aai/ɡwozə-/goose egg cf. guozzen/ɡwoz+ən/geese
laam/la:m/lamb ~ lamme#sturt/lamə-/lamb's tail cf. lammen/lam+ən/lambs
hân/hɔ:n/hand ~ hanne#biner/hɔnə-/tie cf. hannen/hɔn+ən/hands
hûs/hu:z/house ~ huze#bou/hyzə-/house-building, housing construction cf. huzen/hyz+ən/houses
As to the few nouns with a plural in -en and concomitant lengthening of the stem vowel (see Forms with vowel lengthening), the long vowel also shows up in the allomorph, see the examples below:
Table 7
lid/lɪd/member ~ lede#list/le:də-/membership list cf. leden/le:d+ən/members
gebed/ɡəbɛd/prayer ~ gebede#boek/ɡəbe:də-/prayer book cf. gebeden/ɡəbe:d+ən/prayers
god/ɡɔd/god ~ goade#wrâld/ɡoədə -/world of the gods cf. goaden/ɡoəd+ən/gods

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Nouns ending in schwa also select the plural marker /-ən-/ as exemplified in the table below:

Table 8
balke/bɔlkə/beam ~ balken/bɔlkə+ən/beams
planke/plaŋkə/plank ~ planken/plaŋkə+ən/planks
For such nouns, base form and allomorph are homophonous. For compounds like balke#brekkerviolent storm, gale(lit. beam breaker) and planke#koartsstage fright(lit. plank fever) therefore it is not clear whether the left-hand member is the base form balke/ planke or the allomorph balke-/ planke-.

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