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Progressive Voice Assimilation: function words beginning with /d-/
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The topic of this section is Progressive Voice Assimilation in connection with a closed set of function words, all of which begin with the voiced coronal plosive /d/. Take the sentence men wit noait wat dan mooglik isone can never tell what is possible then. The word sequence wat dan/vɔt dɔn/what then is realized as [vɔtɔn], in which [t]'s voicelessness results from assimilation (and [t]'s singleness from degemination: [vɔtɔn] < [vɔttɔn] < [vɔtdɔn]).

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There is a small set of function words which begin with the voiced coronal plosive /d/ (henceforth: /d/-words); see the overview in (1):

Example 1

The function words which begin with /d/
a. Definite article
de /də/ the (in combination with a singular noun (de-word) or a plural noun)
b. Demonstrative pronouns
dat /dɔt/ that (in combination with a singular noun (it-word), also in nominal use)
dy /di/ that (in combination with a singular noun (de-word), also in nominal use); those (also in nominal use)
dit /dɪt/ this (in combination with a singular noun (it-word), also in nominal use)
dizze /dɪzə/ this (in combination with a singular noun (de-word), also in nominal use); these (also in nominal use)
c. Relative pronouns
dat /dɔt/ that, which; who, whom
datsto /dɔt+st+do:/ that you, which you; whom you
datste /dɔt+st+də/ that you, which you; whom you
datst /dɔt+st/ that you, which you; whom you
dy't /di+t/ that, which; who, whom
dy'tsto /di+t+st+do:/ that you, which you; whom you
dy'tste /di+t+st+də/ that you, which you; whom you
dy'tst /di+t+st/ that you, which you; whom you
d. Personal pronouns
do /do:/ you (subject form, singular, familiar)
/du/ you (subject form, singular, familiar)
dy /di/ you (object form, singular, familiar)
dij /dɛj/ you (object form, singular, familiar)
e. Possessive pronouns
dyn /din/ your
dines /dinəs/ yours
dinen /dinən/ yours
dinent /dinənt/ yours
f. Adverbs
der /dər/ there (in existential constructions); as part of a pronominal adverb)
dêr /dɛ:r/ there; as part of a pronominal adverb)
dus /døs/ so, therefore, then
dan /dɔn/ then (referring to the future)
doe /du/ then (referring to the past)
doch(s) /dɔx(s)/ nevertheless, still, yet, all the same

Usually, word-initial /d/ triggers regressive voice assimilation of a preceding (voiceless) plosive (see regressive voice assimilation: type 1). This may also hold for the /d/ of the words in (1). However, if the latter are in the appropriate syntactic environment and if they are preceded by a voiceless obstruent, the initial /d/ may show up as voiceless or, put differently, it may undergo progressive voice assimilation. Examples of this devoicing after a plosive are given in (2):

Example 2

Examples of the devoicing of the /d/ of /d/-words after a plosive
a. de
hy krijt de bus út de kast [krɛjtə] [*krɛjdə] he gets the drum out of the cupboard
omdat de trein in oere fertraging hie [omdɔtə] [*omdɔdə] because the train had a delay of an hour
ik pak de bus [paktə] [*paɡdə] I take the bus
ik skop de bal deryn [skoptə] [*skobdə] I kick the ball into the goal
b. der
wannear't der praat wurdt [vɔnɪətər] [*vɔnɪədər] when people talk (about it)
ik begryp der wat langer wat minder fan [bəɡriptər] [*bəɡribdər] I understand (it) less and less
omdat ik der wat langer wat minder fan begryp [ɪktər] [*?ɪɡdər] because I understand (it) less and less
c. dat
witst wol wat dat wurd betsjut? [vɔtɔt] [*vɔdɔt] do you know what that word means?
wat komt dat op 'e spieren oan! [komtɔt] [*komdɔt] what a lot of muscle that needs!
hy hold dat foar himsels [ho:tɔt] [*ho:dɔt] he kept that for himself
haw ík dat sein? [ɪktɔt] [ɪɡdɔt] did Í say that?
haw ik dát sein? [ɪktɔt] [ɪɡdɔt] did I say thát?
d. dat
it praat dat er altyd hat [pra:tɔt] [*pra:dɔt] the things that/which he always talks about
it skip datsto/datste/datst besjoen hast [skɪptɔst{o:/ə}] [skɪbdɔst{o:/ə}] the ship that/which you have been looking at
e. dy
sok praat past dy man net [pɔsti] [*pɔzdi] it ill befits that man to talk like that
ik wit net wat dy mannen besielet [vɔti] [*vɔdi] I do not know what has come over those men
op dy dyk wurdt meastal te hurd riden [opti] [?obi] on that road people use to drive too fast
út dy beker moatst net drinke [yti] [?ydi] you shouldn't drink from that mug
ik drink dy beker yn ien swolch leech [drɪŋkti] [drɪŋɡdi] I empty that mug in one drain/draught
hat Sjoerd dy bekers net? [sjuəti] [*?sjuədi] does Sjoerd happen to have those mugs?
f. dy't/dy'tsto/dy'tste/dy'tst
de help dy't er krige hat [hɛlptit] [hɛlbdit] the help that/which he got
de gek dy't soks seit [ɡɛktit] [ɡɛɡdit] the fool, idiot who says a thing like that
de trip dy'tsto/dy'tste/dy'tst meitsje wolst [trɪptist{o:/ə}] [trɪbdist{o:/ə}] the trip that/which you want to make
de groep dy'tsto/dy'tste/dy'tst bestudearrest [ɡruptist{o:/ə}] [ɡrubdist{o:/ə}] the group that/which you study
g. dy/dij
sok praat past dy net [pɔsti] [*pɔzdi] it ill befits you to talk like that
at dy wat net dúdlik is, ... [ɔti] [*ɔdi] if there is something you do not understand, ...
sil'k dy jûn ophelje? [sɪkti] [sɪɡdi] shall I go and get you tonight?
sa ken'k dy hielendal net [kɪŋkti] [kɪŋɡdi] I've never known you like this before
dat Bauk díj net seach [bɔwktɛj] [bɔwɡdɛj] I'm astonished that Bauk didn't see you
h. dyn/dines
moatst net sa op dyn strepen stean [optin] [obdin] do not get up on your high horse liket this
wy hawwe al sa faak dyn sin dien [fa:ktĩ] [fa:ɡdĩ] so many times we have done as you wished
dêr komt dines ek al oan [komtinəz] [*komdinəz] yours is drawing near (from that direction)
ik wit net hoe't dines der útsjogge [hutinəz] [*?hudinəz] I do not know what yours look like
i. do/dû
híést do dat wier net sjoen? [hiəsto:] [*hiəzdo:] hádn't you really seen that?
dat soest dó net witte! [suəsto:] [*suəzdo:] as if you do not know!
omdat do en ik dat dwaan moatte [omdɔto:] [?omdɔdo:] because you and I will have to do that
pak dû ek mar ris mei oan [paktu] [paɡdu] do make yourself useful
net altyd sa skerp, do! [skɛrpto:] [skɛrbdo:] hey, you, do not always be that sharp/cutting
j. dit
hoe kómt dit no wer [komtɪt] [*komdɪt] how on earth díd this happen?
hoe komt dít no wer [komtɪt] [*komdɪt] how on earth did thís happen?
ik wit net hoe't dit komt [hutɪt] [*hudɪt] I do not know how this did happen
hy griep dit oan om ... [ɡriəptɪt] [ɡriəbdɪt] he seized this opportunity in order to ...
hy briek dit nije pak molke oan [briəktɪt] [briəɡdɪt] he opened up this new carton of milk
k. dizze
wat dócht dizze man hjir [doxtɪzə] [*doɣdɪzə] what is this man dóing here?
wat docht dízze man hjir [doxtɪzə] [*doɣdɪzə] what is thís man doing here?
gjinien wit wat dizze man hjir docht [vɔtɪzə] [*vɔdɪzə] no one knows what this man is doing here
hja begriep dizze sommen net [bəɡriəptɪzə] [bəɡriəbdɪzə] she didn't understand these sums
pak dizze kâns [paktɪzə] [paɡdɪzə] seize this opportunity
l. dêr
dat stiet dêr al jierren [stjɪtɛ:r] [*stjɪdɛ:r] that has stood there for years
wy witte hoe't dêr oer tocht wurdt [hutɛ:r] [*hudɛ:r] we know what the general opinion about that is
it bliek dêr net mear te wêzen [bliəktɛ:r] [bliəɡdɛ:r] it turned out that it was no longer there
m. dus
hy leit dus alle funksjes del [lajtøs] [*lajdøs] so he resigns all his offices
wat dus syn heit oangiet ... [vɔtøs] [*vɔdøs] so as far as his father is concerned ...
ik begryp dus dat ... [bəɡriptøs] [bəɡribdøs] so I understand that ...
ik pak dus alles yn [paktøs] [paɡdøs] so I pack up everything
n. dan
hy rint dan alles om sa'n boek ôf [rɪntɔn] [*rɪndɔn] he then searches high and low to find such a book
mar wát dan? [vɔtɔn] [*?vɔdɔn] and whát then, and then whát?
mar wat dán? [vɔtɔn] [*?vɔdɔn] and what thén, and thén what?
as Jaap dan ek kin ... [ja:ptɔn] [ja:bdɔn] if it suits Jaap as well then ...
as Bauk dan ek kin ... [bɔwktɔn] [bɔwɡdɔn] if it suits Bauk as well then ...
o. doe
at doe ús heit der noch mar west hie [ɔtu] [*ɔdu] if only my father would still have been alive by then
wêrom hat er dat doe net sein? [dɔtu] [*?dɔdu] why didn't he say that then?
hy griep doe de macht [ɡriəptu] [ɡriəbdu] he seized power then
dat liek doe wakkere moai [liəktu] [liəɡdu] that seemed all so beautiful then
p. dochs
hy docht dochs faak net mei [doxtɔxs] [*doɣdɔxs] yet, he hardly ever joins in
hoe't dochs faak ... [hutɔxs] [*hudɔxs] still, how often ...
mar Jaap dochs foaral? [ja:ptɔxs] [ja:bdɔxs] all the same, Jaap in particular?
mar Bauk dochs foaral? [bɔwktɔxs] [bɔwɡdɔxs] all the same, Bauk in particular?

With the exception of dizze/dɪzə/, the /d/-words in (1) are monosyllabic.

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x

The relative pronouns dat/dɔt+t/that, which; who, whom, datsto/datste/datst/dɔt+t+st(+{do:/də})/that you, which you; whom you, dy't/di+t/that, which; who, whom, dy'tsto/dy'tste/dy'tst/di+t+st(+{do:/də})/that you, which you; whom you and the possessive pronouns in nominal use dines/din+əs/, dinen/din+ən/, and dinent/din+ən+t/yours are inflected forms, which is the reason why some of them consist of more than one syllable.

Monosyllabicity makes these /d/-words suitable candidates for partaking in cliticization (see cliticization), that is, they tend to form one phonological word with the words preceding or following them, which serve as their 'phonological host'.

Since schwa is too weak to be the only vowel of a (phonological) word, de/də/the and der/dər/there always act as clitics. For the /d/-words with a full vowel - which can also bear stress -, there are two options: either they undergo cliticization or they make up a phonological word of their own.

When a /d/-word makes up a phonological word with a host word on its left, regressive voice assimilation is impossible, for the latter only applies between separate words. The internal consonant sequences in a host + clitic combination therefore must be in accordance with conditions on such clusters within the boundaries of the phonological word. Now, clusters of two plosives within the word − occurring chiefly in derived and inflected forms − are always realized as voiceless (see Zonneveld (1983) for this observation as to Dutch). Progressive voice assimilation induced by the host-final (voiceless) plosive onto the initial /d/ of the /d/-word links up with this pattern. When the /d/-word leans on a host word on its right, or when it does not cliticize at all, the final plosive of the left-hand word and the initial /d/ of the function word do not belong to one and the same phonological word, hence regressive voice assimilation obtains.

The patterns showing up in (2) deserve some comment.

  • The /d/-words with schwa are de/də/the and der/dər/there. A canonical Frisian word has two vowels at most, viz. a full vowel and schwa, in that order. In the normal case then de and der have a host word on the left, which implies progressive voice assimilation and a voiceless cluster of plosives. A voiced cluster sounds odd.
  • The /d/-words with a full vowel can have a host word on their left as well as on their right. In principle, then, both progressive and regressive voice assimilation are possible. Yet, a voiced cluster of plosives strikes one as a little odd, in any case as less normal than a voiceless one. Monosyllabic function words seem to have a strong inherent preference for acting as enclitics.
  • The /d/-words with a full vowel behave asymmetrically with respect to host words ending in [-p] and [-k] on the one and [-t] on the other hand. The former combinations allow for progressive as well as regressive assimilation, resulting in both voiceless and voiced clusters, whereas the latter combinations only result in progressive assimilation and voiceless clusters. It is unclear why this should be the case.

The voiced fricatives — /v/, /z/, and /ɣ/ — show a preference for being preceded by a long sequence, viz. a long monophthong, a falling or centring diphthong or a short vowel + l/r, while the voiceless fricatives — /f/, /s/, and /x/ — prefer to follow a short sequence, i.e. a short monophhong or a (short) rising diphthong (see the obstruents: the fricatives). That is why words ending in a fricative are expected to yield different outcomes from words ending in a plosive. Examples with fricative-final host words are given in (3) and (4):

Example 3

Examples of the voicing behaviour of the /d/ of /d/-words following a word ending in a fricative preceded by a short vowel
a. With [s]
ik mis de bus sa noch [mɪstə] [mɪzdə] this way I will miss the bus
ik ros der al in hiel skoft op om [rostər] [rozdər] I have rubbed that spot for quite some time now
ik mís dy sa [*mɪsti] [mɪzdi] I míss you so
ik mis dý/dij sa [*mɪsti/mɪstɛj] [mɪzdi/mɪzdɛj] It is you that I miss
it gas dat jim ferbrûke [*ɡɔstɔt] [ɡɔzdɔt] The gass which you use up
de tas dy't se kocht hat [*tɔstit] [tɔzdit] the handbag which she has bought
pas dan ek wat better op! [*?pɔstɔn] [pɔzdɔn] be more careful!
wêr stiet de rys dan? [*ristɔn] [rizdɔn] where do I find the rice then?
stiet dat pakhús dêr noch? [*pakhystɛ:r] [pakhyzdɛ:r] is that warehouse still there?
b. With [f]
ik skaf de belestingen ôf [skaftə] [skavdə] I do away with taxes
ik huf der fiks op [høftər] [høvdər] I strike it firmly
muf dat it dêr rûkt! [*møftɔt] [møvdɔt] how musty/stuffy it smells there
de straf dy't er krigen hat [*straftit] [stravdit] the punishment which they inflicted upon him
hy hie de plof dus net heard [*ploftøz] [plovdøz] so he had not heard the pop
c. With [x]
ik rach de bern út [raxtə] [raɣdə] I rant and rave to the children
ik kuch der flink op los [køxtər] [køɣdər] I cough and cough
wach dat dy hûn is! [*vaxtɔt] [vaɣdɔt] how watchful that dog is!
wat wolst mei al dat gerach dan berikke? [*ɡəraxtɔn] [ɡəraɣdɔn] what, then, are you up to with all that ranting and raving?
Example 4

Examples of the voicing behaviour of the /d/ of /d/-words following a word ending in a fricative preceded by a long vowel
a. With [s]
hy keas de maklikste wei [*kɪəstə] [kɪəzdə] he chose the easy way out
ik lis der wol jild by [*le:stər] [le:zdər] I will make up the deficit
hy keas dy mei sin út [*kɪəsti] [kɪəzdi] he deliberately chose those ones
in dwaas dat it is! [*dwa:stɔt] [dwa:zdɔt] what a fool he is!
it glês datst dêr hast [*ɡlɛ:stɔst] [ɡlɛ:zdɔst] the glass which you have there
ik sis dy dat it sa komt [*se:sti] [se:zdi] I tell you it will turn out like that
wat is de priis dan? [*pri:stɔn] [pri:zdɔn] what, then, is the price?
b. With [f]
de hûn groef de bonke op [*ɡru:ftə] [ɡru:vdə] the dog dug up the bone
ik skaaf der noch wat oan [*ska:ftər] [ska:vdər] I will try to improve on it
de brief dy'tst skreaun hast [*briəftist] [briəvdist] the letter which you have written
wat brief dan? [*briəftɔn] [briəvdɔn] which letter then?
dy brief dus! [*briəftøs] [briəvdøs] that letter!
c. With [x]
hy wol graach de stikken sjen [*ɡra:xtə] [ɡra:ɣdə] he would like to see the documents
set dyn skoech der mar neist [*sku:xtər] [sku:ɣdər] put your shoe next to it
dreech dat it wie! [*dre:xtɔt] [dre:ɣdɔt] how difficult it was!
de wylch dy't dêr stiet [*vilxtit] [vilɣdit] the willow which stands there
hiest dy herberch doe mar sjoen [*hɛrbɛrxtu] [hɛrbɛɣdu] if only you had seen that inn then

The pattern which emerges from the above is fairly clear. A voiceless sequence occurs iff the /d/-word has the vowel schwa (so, in effect, with de and der) and the host-final fricative is preceded by a short vowel. In all other cases, the outcome is a voiced sequence.

In case the vowel preceding the fricative is short, see (3), regressive voice assimilation must be held responsible for the voiced sequence. The /d/-words with a full vowel do not seem to cliticize onto a fricative-final word on their left, which is in sharp contrast with their behaviour with respect to plosive-final words. The reason for this different behaviour is unclear.

If the vowel preceding the fricative is long, see (4), the only outcome is a voiced sequence, irrespective of the /d/-word having schwa or a full vowel. For the sake of the unity of the analysis, it is to be assumed that de and der cliticize leftward here. This means, that the voiced sequence cannot result from regressive voice assimilation. Nor can it result from progressive voice assimilation, for the host-final fricative has undergone Final Devoicing (see final devoicing: the process). Therefore it must be assumed that the voiced fricatives' preference for being preceded by a long sequence enforces a voiced word-internal fricative-plosive sequence here. The /d/-words with a full vowel do not cliticize onto a fricative-final host-word in general, so the length of the vowel preceding the fricative is irrelevant to them. This means that the initial [d] of the function words induces regressive voice assimilation here, yielding a voiced sequence.

[show extra information]
x

Sipma (1913:27) notes that /ɡ/ often becomes [x] following the voiceless obstruents [p/t/k/s]. He gives the following four examples: it giet/ət ɡjɪt/[ət xjɪt]it goes, ik gean/ɪk ɡɪən/[ɪk xɪən]I go, opgean /op#ɡɪən/[opxɪən]to open (of a door), and bûsgat/buz#ɡɔt/[busxɔt]placket. Not only is /ɡ/ devoiced here, the resulting voiceless plosive, /k/, is also fricativized, yielding the voiceless fricative /x/. As to the first three examples, this fricativization may be viewed as an instance of dissimilation, since the sequences /tk/ (it giet), /kk/ (ik gean), and /pk/ (opgean), which consist of two plosives, are turned into the more dissimilar plosive-fricative sequences /tx/, /kx/, and /px/(see dissimilation). Dissimilation may be explainable here on the grounds that in the preferred case obstruents in a sequences show an alternation between plosives and fricatives or, put differently, they do not agree in continuancy; this means that a sequence of two plosives or two fricatives is less likely than a plosive-fricative or fricative-plosive sequence (see onset: sequences of two obstruents). This 'explanation', however, does not apply to bûsgat), where the preferred sequence /sk/ is turbed into less preferred /sx/. The above pattern has become obsolete. Nowadays, word-initial /ɡ/ invariably induces regressive voice assimilation (see regressive voice assimilation: type 1 and regressive voice assimilation: type 2).

[show extra information]
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Regressive place assimilation of a voiceless plosive is induced by a voiced plosive only (see regressive voice assimilation: type 1 and regressive voice assimilation: type 2). The progressive voice assimilation of word-initial /d/ treated in this topic is predominantly induced by a voiceless plosive. As to voice assimilation in general then a plosive only seems to bow to another plosive.

References:
  • Sipma, Pieter1913Phonology and Grammar of Modern West FrisianLondon, New YorkOxford University Press
  • Zonneveld, Wim1983Lexical and phonological properties of Dutch voicing assimilationvan den Broecke, M., van Heuven, V. & Zonneveld, W. (eds.)Sound Structures: Studies for Anthonie CohenDordrechtForis Publications
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