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The labiodental glide /ʋ/
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Features
A possible feature specification of  /ʋ/ is [+high, -low, +tense, +round, (-back)].

Phonotactics
/ʋ/ can occur in simple ( 1a, 1b) onsets. Furthermore, the presence of /ʋ/ is somewhat restricted in the onset: it can occur before back rounded vowels ( 1c, 1d). Its occurrence before front rounded vowels is restricted to the placename Wuustwezel/ʋystʋezəl/[ʋystʋezəl]Wuustwezel, place name.

Example 1

Simple onset
a. was /ʋɑs/ [ʋɑs] wash
b. waar /ʋar/ [ʋar] true
c. woest /ʋust/ [ʋust] angry
d. woord /ʋord/ [ʋort] word

In complex onsets it is found too, provided the first member is not a labial /p/ or /b/ (2a , 2b, 2c). Moreover, /ʋ/ can occur after long front vowels in syllable coda (3a, 3b). As a second member of a complex onset, it cannot occur before a rounded vowel except /o/. There are some words of Latin origin with /kʋo/, such as quotaquota and quorumquorum but there are no words starting with /*kʋu, kʋɔ, kʋy, kʋʏ, tʋu, tʋo, tʋɔ, tʋy, tʋʏ, dʋu, dʋo, dʋɔ, dʋy, dʋʏ/, even though the clusters are allowed with any other vowel. As first member in a complex onset, /ʋ/ can occur only in the combination with /r/, such as in 2d or 2e, because the two segments share the same degree of sonority (Booij 1995: 38). Differences in sonority restrict the glide in other contexts, which explains why many speakers of Dutch pronounce /w/ as [v] as the first member of a cluster.

Example 2

Complex onset
a. kwaad /kʋad/ [kʋat] angry
b. twee /tʋe/ [tʋeː] two
c. dwing /dʋɪŋ/ [dʋɪŋ] force
d. wreed /ʋred/ [ʋre:t] cruel
e. wrijven /ʋrɛivən/ [ʋrɛivə(n)] to rub
Example 3

Coda
a. leeuw [lew] lion
b. nieuw [niw] new

/ʋ/ as an alternant of /y/
Together with /j/, /ʋ/ is usually seen as a glide; but whereas /j/ has a clear counterpart in the vowel /i/, things are not so clear for /ʋ/. The consonant is inserted after any back rounded vowel in hiatus:

Example 4

a. boa /boa/ [bowa] boa
b. douane /duanə/ [duwanə] customs

Some speakers also insert it after front rounded /y/, whereas others prefer [j]: duo/dyo/[dyʋo][dyjo]duo. (The mid front rounded vowel does not occur in hiatus position.)

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[+] Articulatory information

Dutch /ʋ/ is realised as a voicedlabiodentalglide in word-initial onsets, and as a bilabial-velarapproximant[u]/[w] in codas. In intervocalic onsets, there is variation between the two (Mees and Collins 1982).

Bilabial
Speech sounds produced at bilabial place of articulation, i.e. with a constriction between both lips. See human speech organs.

Labiodental
Speech sounds at labiodental place of articulation, i.e. with a constriction between the upper teeth and the lower lip. See the human speech organs.

Velar
Speech sounds produced at velar place of articulation, between palatal and uvular. See the human speech organs.


Figure 1: The human speech organs

[click image to enlarge]

[+] Acoustic information

Bilabial
  • in obstruents, noise or noise bursts characterised by a relatively flat spectrum (diffuse energy), and formant transitions (all formants are lowered in the vicinity of a bilabial).

  • in nasals, indicated by the presence of low frequency (1000 Hz) anti-formants, or spectral valleys.

Velar
  • in obstruents, noise or noise bursts characterised by a concentration of energy in the middle of the spectrum (with F2 and F3 relatively close together).

  • in nasals, indicated by the presence of a low spectral peak (around 250 Hz) and no considerable spectral valleys until above 2 kHz.

Dutch /ʋ/ is a voicedlabiodentalglide.

[+] Examples

Table 1: Soundfiles, waveforms and spectrograms of the above sound files, with indications of the relevant acoustic parameters of Northern Standard Dutch /ʋ/
wordgroup phonological context sound waveform/spectogramme
er was niet voldoende werk in Marokkothere wasn't enough work in Morocco word-initial
[click image to enlarge]
al eeuwen het middelpuntthe centre for ages intervocalic
[click image to enlarge]
de zestiende eeuwthe sixteenth century word-final
[click image to enlarge]

Table 2: Soundfiles, waveforms and spectrograms of the above sound files, with indications of the relevant acoustic parameters of Southern Standard Dutch /ʋ/
wordgroup phonological context sound waveform/spectogramme
terug op het werk dan nogback to work than still word-initial
[click image to enlarge]
twee eeuwentwo centuries intervocalic
[click image to enlarge]
een bepaalde eeuwa particular century word-final
[click image to enlarge]
References:
  • Booij, Geert1995The phonology of DutchOxfordClarendon Press
  • Mees, Inge & Collins, Beverley1982A phonetic description of the consonant system of Standard Dutch (ABN)Journal of the International Phonetic Association122-12
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