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Short /ɔ/ in monomorphemes

Short /ɔ/ occurs freely, and stressed as well, in all positions other than open syllables, word-finally, as in offer /'ɔ.fər/ do., wonder /'vɔn.dər/ do. and karton /kɑr.'tɔn/ cardboard. In fact, /ɔ/ is found in only a small number of polysyllabic monomorphemes in word-final, open syllables, most of them place and persons' names adopted from indigenous South African languages, for example in Limpopo place name and Renamo (one of several possible pronunciations of this name).

In all instances of short vowels, the following topics should be taken into account as important background information:

As an orientation with respect to all topics concerning stress placement in Afrikaans monomorphemes, the following reference list should be consulted:

(De Stadler 1981; Combrink and De Stadler 1987; De Stadler 1991; De Villiers 1965; De Villiers and Ponelis 1992; Lee 1963; Le Roux 1936; Le Roux and Pienaar 1927; Lubbe 1993; Wissing 1971; Wissing 1987; Wissing 1988; Wissing 1989; Wissing 1991; Wissing 2017)


    In the following section, polysyllabic monomorphemes with /ɔ/ as the nucleus in closed final syllable position are listed, with indications of stress patterns. Examples of words with /ɔ/, with /n/ as coda, are taken as representative of the sonorant consonants /m/, /n/, /r/, /l/ and /ŋ/ in coda position. Cases with obstruent codas are very limited and mainly restricted to /s/ and /t/. Rare examples are kompos, kosmos, Rhodos – all with penultimate stress, and boikot, Hotnot – also with penultimate stress. The unfamiliar word skavot has word-final stress.

    It is significant that, despite the fact that /ɔ/ is classified as phonemically short, with regard to stress behaviour it behaves similarly to long vowels in the same contexts. As such, stress patterns cannot function as classifying criteria for whether vowels are phonemically short or long.

    In the table below, bisyllabic and multisyllabic monomorphemes with /ɔ/ as nucleus and with /n/ as coda, in closed final syllable position, are listed.

    Table 1: Monomorphemes with /ɔ/
    Final stress Final stress Prefinal stress Prefinal stress Antepenultimate stress
    balkon karton afkon nekton epsilon
    bariton koepon afton neuron ipsilon
    baron kokon bidon nylon kameleon
    bastion kordon bismon pekton leksikon
    bataljon kotiljon demon plankton maraton
    baton kripton kanon ponton
    beton pardon klystron proton
    bombardon peloton kripton tampon
    chaperon perron mammon teflon
    echelon pilon mikron elektron
    eskadron pion mormon
    flakon plafon
    gallon ponton
    harison postiljon
    kanon salon
    kariljon stadion
    kanton testosteron

    1. Almost every word under these three types is bisyllabic.
    2. Final syllables are stressed in the majority of cases, but quite a number do have penultimate stress. All words with penultimate stress are bisyllabic as well, bar elektron.
    3. Cases of antepenultimate stress are, except in the case of maraton (also written as marathon), of the structure -i- plus a consonant plus on, which forms a subcategory of the monomorphemes. maraton is frequently heard with final stress too.
    4. The phoneme /ɔ/ also carries stress in final position a few words with a closed syllable and with /l/ as coda: fenol; katrol; kasserol; kastrol; parasol constitute most of these words. Non-final stress is found in a small number of instances, like: alkohol; boggerol; kiepersol; metonol; petrol; Sasol.
    5. In a resticted number of monomorphemes, the final syllable with /ɔ/ is closed by a complex (dual) coda, one constituent of which is always a sonorant, e.g. skedonk, spelonk, terstond, horisont, bedons, renons and respons, with final syllable stress. vabond exhibits penultimate stress, a remnant of the original compound stress ( vagebond).
    6. This vowel never gets stressed in the pseudo-suffix -or, as in motor, doktor and professor – it is always derounded to schwa [ə], even in formal speech. That it is underlyingly not /ə/ is corroborated by the existence of plural forms, resp. motore, doktore and professore – all with long /o/.

    • Combrink, J.G.H. & De Stadler, L.G1987Afrikaanse fonologie.Macmillan
    • De Stadler, L.G1981Die klemkontoere van die simplekse selfstandige naamwoord in Afrikaans: 'n NGF-siening.Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe21285-295,
    • De Stadler, L.G1991Oor die klemtoon van Afrikaanse simplekse: re Wissing.South African Journal of Linguistics = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Taalkunde941-46,
    • De Villiers, M1965Aspekte van woordaksent.
    • De Villiers, M. & Ponelis, F.A1992Afrikaanse klankleer.Tafelberg
    • Le Roux, J.J1936Die uitspraak van Afrikaans.Huisgenoot2031,
    • Le Roux, T.H. & Pienaar, P. de V1927Afrikaanse fonetiek.Juta
    • Lee, A.S1963Klem in Afrikaans.Thesis
    • Lubbe, H.J1993Oor die klemtoon van Afrikaanse simplekse: re Wissing én De Stadler.South African Journal of Linguistics = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Taalkunde118-17,
    • Wissing, D1987Klemtoon en tweesillabige Afrikaanse simplekse: eksperiment.South African Journal of Linguistics = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Taalkunde5105-139,
    • Wissing, D1989Die klempatrone van Afrikaanse en Nederlandse simplekse: 'n vergelyking.Literator1050-65,
    • Wissing, D1991Is Afrikaans 'n inisiëleklemtoontaal?South African Journal of Linguistics = Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Taalkunde947-57,
    • Wissing, D.P1971Fonologie en morfologie van die simplekse selfstandige naamwoord in Afrikaans: 'n transformasioneel-generatiewe beskrywing.Thesis
    • Wissing, D.P1988Die Afrikaanse en Nederlandse verkleiningsisteme: 'n vergelyking in metries-fonologiese kader.Literator962-75,
    • Wissing, Daan2017FonologieVan Schaik
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