• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
Constraints on diphthongs
quickinfo

For diphthong formation to yield the correct outcome, the underlying representation of morphemes must meet the demands of several morpheme structure constraints. These constraints are

  1. the (Extended) Close Vowel Constraint for the rising and falling diphthongs and
  2. the Schwa constraint for the centring diphthongs.
With respect to the front-back dimension, the falling diphthongs are also constrained by the Place Constraint.

readmore

Diphthong formation in Frisian operates on vowel sequences which are part of the underlying representation of morphemes; the latter belong to the native, simplex part of the lexicon. For diphthong formation to yield the correct outcome, these underlying representations must meet the demands of several morpheme structure constraints.

In the first place, of a tautomorphemic sequence of two adjacent vowels, one vowel is close. This is expressed by the following constraint:

Close Vowel Constraint
If a native morpheme contains a sequence of two adjacent vowels, one of these is +close.
This constraint excludes sequences of two -close — viz. half close, half open and open — vowels. The constraint does not, however, exclude a sequence of two +close vowels, which translates into a rising diphthong (see: table The Frisian diphthongs).

With respect to the feature ±close then only the following tautomorphemic vowel sequences are allowed:

Allowed for tautomorphemic vowel sequences (w.r.t. the feature ±close)

  1. -close,+close
  2. +close,-close
  3. +close,+close
These sequences correspond with most attested diphthong types in Frisian: (1) underlies a falling, (2) and (3) a rising diphthong.

This leaves the centring diphthongs, which have schwa as their second component. Schwa cannot form a sequence with every vowel, as expressed by the following constraint:

Schwa Constraint
If a native morpheme contains a sequence of two adjacent vowels, the second of which is schwa, the first one is a (half) close vowel.

With respect to vowel height then there is a neat division of labour between the centring and the falling diphthongs. This means that the Close Vowel Constraint must be supplemented with the Extended Close Vowel Constraint:

Extended Close Vowel Constraint
If a native morpheme contains a sequence of two adjacent vowels, the second of which is close, the first one is a (half) open vowel.

The falling diphthong /oj/ is an exception to the above constraint, for /o/ is a half close vowel.

The falling diphthongs must also be constrained as to the front-back dimension:

Place Constraint
If a native morpheme contains a sequence of a (half) open and a close vowel, both vowels are either front or back.

This constraint gives expression to the fact that a falling diphthong is 'organic', i.e. its components only differ as to their height specification.

Schwa is a basically unspecified vowel. This implies that sequences of a (half) close vowel and schwa meet neither the Close Vowel Constraint, the Extended Close Vowel Constraint nor the Place Constraint. Therefore, a separate constraint for schwa, viz. Schwa Constraint, is called for.

It should be noted that the Close Vowel Constraint is the general constraint, whereas the other ones are more specific. This implies that the latter take effect first. Only if a vowel sequence does not fall under one of these, it is the Close Vowel Constraint that exerts its influence.

References:
    Suggestions for further reading ▼
    phonology
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    Show more ▼
    morphology
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    • Strong and other irregular verbs
      [73%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Verbs
    • -k
      [72%] Frisian > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Suffixation > Verbal suffixes > Noun as base
    • Weak verbs
      [72%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Verbs
    • -s
      [71%] Frisian > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Suffixation > Adverbial suffixes > Noun as base
    • Degree
      [70%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Adjectives
    Show more ▼
    syntax
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    • Mood
      [69%] Afrikaans > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases > 1. Characterization and classification
    • Finite declarative complement clauses: Construction forms
      [68%] Afrikaans > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases > 5. Complement Clauses > 5.1. Finite declarative complement clauses
    • Verb complement clauses (Overview)
      [66%] Afrikaans > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases
    • Tenses
      [66%] Afrikaans > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases > 1. Characterization and classification > 1.5. Tense, epistemic modality and aspect
    • R-pronouns
      [66%] Afrikaans > Syntax > Adjective Phrases > Complementation > Quantificational nature of the argument and linear order
    Show more ▼
    cite
    print