• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
The size of the word-internal and word-final syllable rhyme
quickinfo

In this topic the size of the word-internal and word-final syllable rhyme will be discussed. The Rhyme Constraint, according to which the rhyme of a word-internal syllable occupies two structural phonological positions, will be introduced and then examples will be given of consonants and consonant sequences following a falling diphthong, a centring diphthong and a long vowel + glide sequence. The falling and centring diphthongs appear to be followed by all kinds of consonants, the long vowel + glide sequences only by the vowel schwa (or the sequence schwa + sonorant consonant) and coronal obstruents (or obstruent sequences). This leads to the formulation of the Word Constraint: the rhyme of a word-final syllable occupies three structural phonological positions at most.

readmore

The rhyme of a word-internal syllable is claimed to occupy two structural phonological positions, which is both a minimum and a maximum. This is dubbed the Rhyme Constraint here:

Rhyme Constraint
the rhyme of a word-internal syllable occupies two structural phonological positions
A canonical underived Frisian word either has one full vowel (a monophthong or a diphthong), in which case it ends up as a monosyllabic form, or it has both a full vowel and schwa, in that order, resulting in a bisyllabic form. Examples are provided below:

Example 1

Examples of canonical underived Frisian words
ko /ko:/ cow
dize /di:zə/ mist, haze
duvel /dy:vəl/ devil
biezem /biəzəm/ broom
libben /lɪbən/ life; lifetime; lively
wakker /vakər/ very (much)

The effect of the Rhyme Constraint shows up most clearly in words having more than one full vowel, which in Frisian is the privilege of loanwords; this is exemplified below:

Example 2

Examples of the syllabification of loan words in Frisian
a. Occurring ones
fanfare /fanfa:rə/ [(fan)(fa:)(rə)] brass band
barbaar /barba:r/ [(bar)(ba:r)] barbarian
tempo /tɛmpo:/ [(tɛm)(po:)] tempo
b. Non-occurring ones
*faanfarmka /fa:nfarmka:/ [(fã:)(farm)(ka:)]
*barkbaar /barkba:r/ [(bark)(ba:r)]
*termpo /tɛrmpo:/ [(tɛrm)(po:)]

The forms in (2b) have non-final syllables with a rhyme occupying more than two structural positions. Inevitably, they convey the impression of being compounds or derivations, though this has not been tested by asking native speakers for their judgements on these and similar forms.

Indigenous derived and inflected words also testify to the validity of the Rhyme Constraint. Take the examples in (3) below:

Example 3

Examples of indigenous derived and inflected words
aaien /a:j+ən/ [(a:)(jən)] eggs
wolkich /volk+əɣ/ [(vol)(kəx)] cloudy
reade /rɪəd+ə/ [(rɪə)(də)] red (inflected form)

The phonological content of the stems aai/a:j/egg, wolk/volk/cloud, and read/rɪəd/red can be accomodated by a single syllable: [(a:j)], [(volk)], and [(rɪət)]. The derived and inflected forms, however, all have a first syllable with a rhyme of two positions. The stem-final segment ends up as the onset of the following syllable, making for a syllabification which is in accordance with the Rhyme Constraint .

[hide extra information]
x

The syllabification [(a:)(jən)] (for aaien/a:j+ən/eggs) and [(rɪə)(də)] (for reade/rɪəd+ə/red (inflected form) is also in line with the claim that a VCV string is universally syllabified as /(V).(CV)./ (see Blevins (1995) for more on this).

Many Frisian nouns and inflected forms end in the sequence /-VCə/, as do takke/takə/branch and passe/pɔs+ə/to fit; to suit (all plural persons present tense; infinitive). A schwa syllable must have an onset, which implies that these words must be syllabified as [(ta)(kə)] and [(pɔ)(sə)], respectively (which is also in line with the universal alluded to in the Extra above). These syllabifications, however, are at odds with the Rhyme Constraint. The latter forces the intervocalic consonant to become ambisyllabic, i.e. to function as both the coda of the leftmost and the onset of the rightmost syllable: [(tak)(kə)] and [(pɔs)(sə)]. So, the geminate-like behaviour of the consonant is enforced by the shortness of the (full) vowel.

The consonants and consonant sequences by which the vowels and vowel sequences in simplex Frisian words can be followed also shed light on how many structural positions a regular word-final rhyme consists of.

Falling and centring diphthongs consist of two segments, so they occupy two structural positions, i.e. they are long. Sequences of a long vowel followed by a glide occupy three such positions, hence they are superlong. The three tables below give an overview of the consonants and consonant sequences by which falling diphthongs, centring diphthongs, and long vowel + glide sequences can be followed.


Table 1: Examples of consonants and consonant sequences following a falling diphthong
/ɛj/ -# rijruler, nijnew, frijfree
trijethree (only example)
-əm Hijumplace name
/ʌɥ/ -# bruithings, matters, juifuddle
-əl skuiel(je)to swing, to sway (only example)
-l struilsquirt, spout, skuil(e)to slide
-z uiseye (e.g. in a canvas), buistube
-st duistsoft, woolly hairs of a pig (only example)
/ɔw/ -# hougash, boustructure; cultivation, sjougrind, sweat
dauwedew, mouwesleeve, souwesieve, Douweproper name
-əl ouwelwafer, grouwelhorror, abhorrence, touwelbunch of hard, old reed stems and roots
-ən lauwenvapid, dull (only example)
-ər ouwershore, fjouwerfour, touwerthunderstorm
-t houtwood, bout(screw) bolt, smoutsheltered; cosy, snug
-d goudgold, moudmild (of the weather)
-k haukhawk, doukspigot
-s pauspope, applausapplause (loan words)
-z smousYid, krousleftover(s), kouswick, saussauce(loan word)
/aj/ -# beiberry, weiroad; way, meiwith
leie(bridle) rein, homeiefence which marks the edge of the farmyard
-əl fleielflail (only example)
-p jeipcut, gash, leiprascal; slut, tart
-t geitgoat, heitfather; dad(dy), pleitplea
-d reidreed, breidbride, arbeidlabour, work
-k leikdredging brace, (giele) keikwild radish
-s skeis(en)coin, worth 5/8 cents (only example)
-z fleismeat, reistrip, journey, seissix
steichlane, alley(way), eig(en)own
-l neilnail, heilwelfare, salvation, geilrandy, lecherous; over-fertile
-n einend; duck, reinrain, sneinsunday
-m deimfallow deer, (ge)heimsecret
-nt bleintsandy ridge which is close to the surface, feintservant; boyfriend; mate, kweintshort stick which is used in a certain game
-nd weindheadland (only example)
-ts laitslaugh, maitsmaggot, grub(worm), skraitslong-tailed skua; tall and scrawny person
/oj/ -# fuoiugh!, phooey!, buoishower
muoieaunt (only example)
-k muoik(e)aunt (only example)

Table 2: Examples of consonants and consonant sequences following a centring diphthong
/iə/ -# skrieblack-tailed godwit, sniesnow, miemead
-p liepcunning, skiepsheep, sliepsleep
-t lietsong, mietstarting line, wietwet
-d triedthread, siedseed, skiedpartition, boundary
-k kriekcollection of reeds and other water plants which have washed ashore
-v diefthief, briefletter, epistle
-z kiesmolar, iesbait, sniesa quantity of twenty (eggs)
-l mielmeal, dielpart, kielthroat
-r fierfar, hierhair; hire, rent, mierdislike, aversion
-m fiemfathom, liemloam, hiemproperty, premises
-n trientear, ienone, miencommon, communal
-nt mientstarting line (only example)
-st iest(drying-)kiln (only example)
-lk skielkin the near future (only example)
/yə/ -t n(j)uettame(d) (only example)
-z fluesfilm, skin; fleece (only example)
-r kuercure, ûnhuercoarse, rude; terribly
-n fluen(gers)certain sort of grass (only example)
/uə/ -# tsjoecall for chasing chickens (only example)
-t kloetpunting pole, foetfoot, groetgreeting
-d bloedblood, goedgood, hoedhat
-s koers/kuəs/course; price, quotation, parkoers/parkuəs/track
-z oeseye (e.g. in a canvas), goesgoose, moes(curly) kale
-l doelgoal, koelcool, stoelchair; stool
-r toertower, boerfarmer, roerrudder
-n soenreconciliation, loenvapid, dull, spoenchip (of wood)
-ts koerts/kuəts/course (only example)
/ɪə/ -# deadead; death, skealoss(es); damage, (n)ea(n)ever
-p reaprope, heapheap, pile, keapbuy, sale; deal
-t keatpastern; link (of chain), leat(off)shoot, neatnothing
-d leadlead, readred, deaddead; death
-k heakhook, reakrick, weaksoft; weak
-v leafdear, reafskein, hank, skeafsheaf
-z kreasneat, tidy; pretty, good-looking, heashoarse, sjeasgig
eacheye (part of the body), reachcobweb(s), pleachplague
-l kealcalf, fealpale, healhalf
-r keartime; turn, nearoppressive, sultry, searsore, painful
-n teantoe, heanslight, slender, feanpeat
-m beamtree, kreamstall, stand, preampra(a)m, flat(boat)
eangfrightened; frightening; rough (of teeth) (only example)
-nt treantbumblebee (only example)
-nd eandwith young, bearing (of ewe) (only example)
-st easteast(erly), geastmind, ghost, spirit, leastlast; footmark
-ts pleatsfarm, keats(e)to play fives
/øə/ -n gleonglowing, red-hot, freon(boy)friend, sneonsaturday
-r fleurbrightness, cheerfulness, kleurcolour, seur(e)to nag, to harp
-z beurs/bøəz/purse; grant; exchange (only example)
/oə/ -# goapagus, soawell (then), so
-t kloattesticle, ball; bastard, boatboat, poatpaw
-d snoadbright, clever, soadheartburn, acidity of the stomach, JoadJew
-z moasmoss, noasnose, hoasstocking
-l moalflour, soalsole; channel, fairway,foalwith young, bearing (of sow, ewe, mare, etc.)
-r doardoor, boardrill, brace, smoargrease, fat
-n soanson, oanon, toantone
-st oastgnarl, knur(r), froastfrost, toarst/toəst/thirst
-ts boatsbarrel, koarts/koəts/fever
-nt oanttill, until, goantgosh!

Table 3: Examples of consonants and consonant sequences following a long vowel + glide sequence
/a:j/ -# skaairace, raai(corn-, grass-)stalk, ha(u)lm, draaiturn, bend
Baaieproper noun, Haaieproper noun, Jaaieproper noun, maaieMay
-əl flaaielflail (only example)
-əm Baaiumplace name, boaiem/bwa:jəm/bottom, gaaiemrabble, riffraff, jaaiemblue ruin, schnapps, maaiemdrink, water
-ən glaaiensuave, honeyed, sugary (only example)
-k maaikmaggot, grub(worm) (only example)
-ts maaitsmaggot, grub(worm), skraaitslong-tailed skua; tall and scrawny person
/o:j/ -# roaivaluation, estimation, sloairuin (w.r.t. prices), troai(e)to placate, to appease
oaieadult who acts like a child (only example)
-ən goaiengosh! (only example)
-t (n)oait(n)ever (only example)
-ts boaitstub, barrel, loaitslook (in one's eyes), ploaits(je)to pick, to pluck
/u:j/ -# boeibuoy, marker; chain, handcuff, groei(e)to grow, knoeiblow, set-back
-ts tsjoeitscall for chasing chickens (only example)
/i:w/ -# iuwcentury; age, kiuwgill, branchia, miuw(sea-)gull, Siuwhe who is from the Dutch province of Zeeland
Liuweproper noun
[hide extra information]
x

The only example of a word ending in /uə/ is tsjoecall for chasing chickens. There are also three preterite stems of strong/irregular verbs, viz. koe/kuə/ (of kinn(e)can, soe/suə/ of sill(e)shall, and woe/vuə/ (of woll(e)to want to, to wish).

It appears that a falling diphthong cannot be followed by a full vowel, but only by schwa or the sequence schwa + sonorant consonant (though there are not many instances of it). Due to suffixation, this vocalic sequence is quite common in complex words, as in nije/nɛj+ə/new (inflected form), beien/baj+ən/berries, and bruier/brʌɥ+ər/loose liver, debauchee. Schwa always adds a syllable. In the actual realization, a homorganic glide is inserted between the diphthong and schwa (see the resolution of vocalic hiatus between a falling diphthong and a following vowel).

A centring diphthong cannot be followed by schwa (see also general constraints on the combination of falling diphthongs and glides and centring diphthongs and schwa). This is easily explained as an effect of the Obligatory Contour Principle, which bans sequences of two identical adjacent segments.

[hide extra information]
x

A sequence of a centring diphthing followed by schwa may arise in complex words, like breaen/brɪə+ən/rye breads and in strieën/striə+ən/hoeda straw hat. This configuration, of vocalis hiatus is resolved as follows: the schwa-portion of the diphthong deletes, a front glide is inserted between the diphthong's full vowel and the remaining schwa, and the diphthong's full vowel is lengthened, yielding the realizations [(brɪ.)(jən)] and [(stri.)(jən)] (see the resolution of hiatus between a centring diphthong and a following vowel).

A long vowel + glide sequence cannot be followed by a full vowel, but only by schwa or the sequence schwa + sonorant consonant. Again, this configuration is more common in complex words, as in aaie/a:j+ə/to stroke, to caress (all plural persons present tense; infinitive), aaien/a:j+ən/eggs, and aaierich/a:j+ərəɣ/fond of stroking, caressing. The glide is syllabified as the onset of the schwa syllable: [(a:)(jə)], [(a:)(jən)], [(a:)(jə)(rəx)].

Although there are differences between the falling diphthongs in table a and the centring diphthongs in table b as to the consonants and consonant sequences by which they may be followed, the differences between this group as a whole and the long vowel + glide sequences in table c are very clear. The falling and centring diphthong can be followed by all kinds of consonants, whereas the long vowel + glide sequences can only be followed by 1) schwa or the sequence schwa + sonorant consonant or 2) coronal obstruents or obstruent sequences (with the exception of maaikmaggot, grub(worm), which is a variant of maaits). Word-final schwa, also as part of the word-final sequence schwa + sonorant consonant, behaves as a word boundary in simplex words (see Visser (1994) and Visser (1997:241-248) and the topic on the obstruents: the fricatives), so the fact that long vowel + glide sequences can be followed by schwa or the sequence schwa + sonorant consonant is an indication that a long vowel + glide sequence contains the maximum number of phonological positions a regular word-final syllable rhyme can accommodate. The fact that long vowel + glide sequences can be followed by coronal obstruents or obstruent sequences is indicative of the same. Coronal obstruents are known for their ability to show up in the periphery of syllables and words, where they may give rise to configurations violating constraints on sonority sequencing or regular word size. If these segments have the above effects, they are said to be extra-syllabic (see extra-syllabic consonants).

Word-finally then there appears to be room for a regular third rhyme position, which may be occupied by all sorts of consonants. This is dubbed the Word Constraint:

Word Constraint
the rhyme of a word-final syllable occupies three structural phonological positions at most
In general, all that goes beyond the three positions allowed for by the Word Constraint is occupied by coronal obstruents.

References:
  • Blevins, Juliette1995The Syllable in Phonological TheoryGoldsmith, John A., Riggle, Jason & Yu, Alan C. L. (eds.)The Handbook of Phonological TheoryBlackwell Publishers
  • Visser, Willem1994Schwa-appendixen in het FriesBooij, Geert Evert & Marle, J. van (eds.)DialectfonologieAmsterdamP.J. Meertens-Instituut116-137
  • Visser, Willem1997The Syllable in FrisianVrije Universiteit AmsterdamThesis
Suggestions for further reading ▼
phonology
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show more ▼
morphology
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show more ▼
syntax
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show more ▼
cite
print