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The Dutch consonant inventory
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[+] Places of articulation for Dutch consonants

Bilabial
Bilabial speech sounds are produced with a constriction formed by both lips. See the human speech organs. Acoustically, bilabial obstruents are characterised by noise or noise bursts with a relatively flat spectrum (diffuse energy), and by formant transitions (all formants are lowered in the vicinity of a bilabial). Bilabial nasals show presence of low frequency (~1000 Hz) anti-formants, or spectral valleys.

The Dutch bilabial consonants are /p/, /b/, /m/.

Labiodental
Labiodental speech sounds are produced with a constriction between the upper teeth and the lower lip. See the human speech organs. Acoustically, labiodental fricatives exhibit noise characterised by a relatively flat distribution of energy across the spectrum (no obvious prominence peaks). The centre of gravity is relatively high compared to other fricatives.

The Dutch labiodental consonants are /f/, /v/, /ʋ/ (see /ʋ/ for information regarding place of articulation variation).

Alveolar
Alveolar speech sounds are produced near the alveolar ridge, behind the upper teeth. See the human speech organs. Acoustically, alveolar obstruents are characterised by noise or noise bursts with a centre of gravity upward of 4000 Hz. Alveolar nasals have a spectral peak around 500Hz and a spectral valley around 1kHz.

The Dutch alveolar consonants are /t/, /d/, /s/, /z/, /n/, /l/, /r/ (see /r/ for information regarding place of articulation variation).

Palato-alveolar
Palato-alveolar speech sounds are produced behind the alveolar ridge, towards the front of the palate. See the human speech organs. Acoustically, palato-alveolar fricatives exhibit noise characterised by a centre of gravity of around 3000 Hz. The centre of gravity is lower than that of alveolars.

The Dutch palato-alveolar consonants are /ʃ/, /ʑ/.

Palatal
Palatal speech sounds are produced with a constriction between the tongue body and the hard palate. See the human speech organs. Acoustically, palatal sonorants have a formant structure characterised by a relatively high F2.

The Dutch palatal consonant is [j]. An important variant of Dutch [r] has a palatal place of articulation, with a bunched tongue pre-dorsum (see [r] for information regarding place of articulation variation).

Retroflex
Retroflex speech sounds are produced with a constriction between the tongue tip (which may be curled back) and the hard palate. Acoustically, retroflex obstruents are characterised by noise or noise bursts with a centre of gravity around 4500 Hz. Second formant transitions into vowels come from around 2200 Hz, and go in a downward direction. F3 is low, close to F2. Retroflex sonorants have a formant structure characterised by a relatively high F2 and low F3, to the point where the two approach each other.

An important variant of Dutch /r/ has a retroflex place of articulation (see /r/ for information regarding place of articulation variation).

Velar
Velar speech sounds are produced at the velum (soft palate). See the human speech organs. Velar obstruents are characterised by noise or noise bursts with a relatively low centre of gravity (typically around 4200Hz), an acute noise peak at low frequency (below 2 KHz) and one or more additional ones. Spectrograms show an identifiable formant structure, as opposed to fricatives and stops at other places of articulation; F2 is the most clearly visible formant. Velar sonorants have a formant structure characterised by a relatively high F2 and low F3, to the point where the two approach each other.

The Dutch velar consonants are /k/, /x/, /ɣ/, /ŋ/.

Uvular
Uvular speech sounds are produced at the very back of the velum, close to or at the uvula. They may include vibration of the uvula (in trills and fricatives). See the human speech organs. Acoustically, uvular obstruents are characterised by noise with a low centre of gravity (around 4200 Hz) and a formant-like structure. Spectral peaks are around 1500 Hz, and a spectral valley around 2500. Uvular sonorants have a formant structure characterised by a lower F2 than velars, and a relatively high F3.

Important variants of Dutch /r/ have a uvular place of articulation (see /r/ for information regarding place of articulation variation).

Glottal
Glottal speech sounds are produced in the larynx, by approximation of the vocal folds.

The Dutch glottal consonant is /h/.

[+] Manner of articulation for Dutch consonants

Plosives
Plosives are consonants involving a complete closure between the articulators, followed by a rapid release. Acoustically, they exhibit a silent phase, followed by a brief noise burst.

The Dutch plosives are /p/, /t/, /k/, /b/, /d/.

Fricatives
Fricatives are consonants involving turbulent airflow through a narrow channel produced by close approximation of the active and passive articulators. See the human speech organs. Acoustically, they exhibit aperiodic energy (noise).

The Dutch fricatives are /f/, /s/, /ʃ/, /x/, /v/, /z/, /ʑ/, /ɣ/.

Nasals
Nasals are speech sounds produced with a simultaneous oral closure and a lowered velum, allowing air to escape through the nose. See the human speech organs. Acoustically, they exhibit low-amplitude, vowel-like periodicity. They are typically characterised on a spectrogram by the presence of antiformants (spectral valleys).

The Dutch nasals are /m/, /n/, /ŋ/.

Approximants
Approximants are consonants involving free airflow through a channel wide enough to preclude turbulent noise. Acoustically, they are characterised by the presence of formant structure.

The Dutch approximants are /l/, /r/, /ʋ/, /j/, /h/ (see /r/ for information regarding manner of articulation variation).


Figure 1: Human speech organs

[click image to enlarge]

[+] Voicing values for Dutch consonants

Voiceless consonants involve an open glottis, with the vocal folds abducted.

The Dutch voiceless consonants are /p/, /t/, /k/, /f/, /s/, /ʃ/, /x/.

Voiced consonants involve a weakly closed glottis, with the vocal folds adducted and vibrating.

The Dutch voiced consonants are /b/, /d/, /v/, /z/, /ʒ/, /ɣ/, /m/, /n/, /ŋ/, /l/, /r/, /ʋ/, /j/, /ɦ// (see /v/, /z/, /ɣ/, /r/ and /h/ for information regarding voicing variation).


Table 1: The Dutch consonant system (where symbols appear in pairs, the first is voiceless and the second voiced)
bilabial labiodental alveolar palato-alveolar palatal velar glottal
stops p, b t, d k
fricatives f, v s, z ʃ, ʒ x, ɣ ɦ
nasals m n ŋ
approximants ʋ l, r j
[show extra information]
x

The place of articulation of /r/ can vary among alveolar, retroflex, palatal, and uvular (see /r/).

The place of articulation of /x/, /ɣ/ can vary between palatal, velar and uvular (see /x/)

References:
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