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Primary stress in Type-II monomorphemes ending on schwa

Prefinal stress placement is dominant in monomorphemes with a word-final schwa. We distinguish between two types: Type I monomorphemes with a final syllable consisting of a single final schwa (<e>) or, alternatively, containing schwa followed by a word-final coda consisting of one of the following sonorants: /n, m, l, r, ŋ/ ; Type II examples, on the other hand, have a final syllable with schwa + obstruent consonants /k, x, s/ as coda (e.g. ig, lik, nis). As in the case of Type-I forms (see The short vowels of Afrikaans the stress-assigning factor of syllable position is more important than other factors such as syllable structure or vowel quality and quantity.

The following articles should be taken into account as important background information:

  • Concerning the general stress pattern of Afrikaans monomorphemes: Overview of main stress
  • Concerning the criteria for classifying words as monomorphemes: Background to primary stress of Afrikaans monomorphemes
  • As an orientation with respect to all topics concerning stress placement in Afrikaans monomorphemes, the following reference list should be consulted:

    (De Stadler, L.G. 1981); (Combrink, J.G.H.; De Stadler, L.G. 1987); (De Stadler, L.G. 1991); (De Villiers, M. 1965); (De Villiers, M.; Ponelis, F.A. 1992); (Lee, A.S. 1963); (Le Roux, J.J. 1936); (Le Roux, T.H.; Pienaar, P. de V. 1927); (Lubbe, H.J. 1993); (Lubbe, H.J. 1993); (Lubbe, H.J. 1993); (Lubbe, H.J. 1993); (Wissing, D.P. 1971); (Wissing, D. 1987); (Wissing, D.P. 1988); (Wissing, D.P. 1988); (Wissing, D. 1989); (Wissing, D.P. 1989); (Wissing, D. 1991); (Wissing 2017)


    In this section, we provide evidence for across-the-board penultimate stress placement in monomorphemes ending in pseudo-suffixes of the Type II kind i.e. having a schwa as nucleus followed by a single obstruent consonant as word-final coda, as found in the three pseudo-affixes ig, lik, nis. The focus on these three specific suffixes is simply by way of demonstrating the importance of syllable position in terms of stress-assignment; they are not the complete set of syllables of this type. Examples and discussion follow beneath; examples are provided in Extra, followed by notes (in Note) where applicable.

    In the following three sets of Extras below, lists of monomorphemes containing the three pseudo-suffixes ig, lik, nis are presented. First let us look at -ig:

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    Figure 1

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    Figure 2

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    1. With respect to bisyllabic monomorphemes, be- and ge-, as in the case of berig and betig , and gedig, getuig, gewig, gewrig, act as true prefixes, and thus force the final syllables in each case to be stressed, as is normal in instances such as bekyk (from be+kyk) and gesien (from ge+sien). In all other bisyllabic monomorphemes stress is penultimate. (See Primary stress in monomorphemes ending on Type-I schwa)
    2. Penultimate stress is also evident in multisyllabic monomorphemes. Notice that this is also apparent in words with four syllables (e.g. agtelosig, agterstallig, wisselvallig).
    3. As is the case with other types of monomorphemes where pseudo-suffixes are involved, syllable structure as well as vowel quality again do not seem to be of special significance as potential stress-assignment factors, as stressed vowels occur freely in open as well as closed syllables and they may be short or long, high, mid or low , front or back as well as round or unround. All occur in prefinal position, even including neutral schwa as in the the words ligsinnig, onverskillig, versigtig. In comparison, schwa is unstressable in Dutch.
    4. Overall, as was the case with Type I examples, penultimate stress is thus the preferred pattern with Type-II words.

    The following list presents examples of both bisyllabic and multisyllabic monomorphemes containing the pseudo-suffix <-lik> .

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    Figure 3: -lik

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    1. Prefinal stress is evident in bisyllabic words; relik is an exception.
    2. This syllable is mostly closed in bisyllabic forms. The vowels of the first syllable are long when occurring in open syllables.
    3. All but two of the twelve vowels of Afrikaans occupy the stressed position, rendering vowel quality not particularly significant in terms of determining stress assignment.
    4. In cases where the pseudo-suffix is -elik, thus containing two consecutive (unstressable) schwas in nucleus position, antepenultimate syllables are stressed (e.g. in dadelik, huwelik). Other pseudo-suffixes that determine the same pattern of stress-assignment are -enlik, -erlik and -iglik (in resp. verwesenlik, liederlik, naarstiglik).

    The examples in the following Extra contain the pseudo-suffixe -nis in bisyllabic as well as multisyllabic monomorphemes .

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    Figure 4: -nis

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    1. Monomorphemes with -nis as pseudo-suffix are rather rare in Afrikaans, and the suffix itself is not very productive as a noun-forming suffix. Examples, however, include cases such as kennis knowledge and hindernis obstacle, nouns derived from the verbs ken to know and hinder to obstruct.
    2. The bold-faced instances above constitute a similar type of noun to that mentioned in (1), although the stems of these words are not as easily decomposable. Words like sadis sadist, with pseudo-suffix is constitute an independent group; -is here is not the morpheme used in Afrikaans for male gender assignment as in, for example, motoris motorist (from the word motor), and toeris tourist, (from the word motor). Words like sadis and joernalis are rather true monomorphemes; it seems unlikely that nonlinguists are able to trace "joernalis" for example back to the (seldomly used) word joernaalSee motivation of pseudo-derivations as monomorphemes in Background to primary stress of Afrikaans monomorphemes
    3. In a few cases, antepenultimate stress is observable, namely in words like beeltenis, beslommernis, geskiedenis. Note, however, that in these cases the normal stress placement position - penultimate - is occupied by schwa, so that the first full vowel other than schwa from the right is stressed. Similar to the case with -lik and variations on it (see above), monomorphemes with pseudo-suffixes containing only schwas like -enis and -ernis, are not stressable on the penultimate syllable and therefore antepenultimate stress is prevalent. See Primary stress in monomorphemes ending on Type-I schwa.

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    • 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 Linguistics941-46
    • 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 Linguistics118-17
    • Lubbe, H.J1993Die klempatrone van Afrikaans.South African Journal of Linguistics1149-59
    • Lubbe, H.J1993Klem in Afrikaans en die superswaar rym.South African Journal of Linguistics78-99
    • Lubbe, H.J1993Inleiding tot die algemene en Afrikaanse metriese fonologieReeksUOVS
    • Wissing, D1987Klemtoon en tweesillabige Afrikaanse simplekse: eksperiment.South African Journal of Linguistics5105-139
    • Wissing, D1989Die klempatrone van Afrikaanse en Nederlandse simplekse: 'n vergelyking.Literator1050-65
    • Wissing, D1991Is Afrikaans 'n inisiëleklemtoontaal?South African Journal of Linguistics947-57
    • Wissing, D.P1971Fonologie en morfologie van die simplekse selfstandige naamwoord in Afrikaans: 'n transformasioneel-generatiewe beskrywing.Buijten & Schipperheijn. Vrije Universiteit.Thesis
    • Wissing, D.P1988Die Afrikaanse en Nederlandse verkleiningsisteme: 'n vergelyking in metries-fonologiese kader.Literator962-75
    • Wissing, D.P1988Abrakadabra: die klem van multisillabige Afrikaanse simplekse.South African Journal of Linguistics613-40
    • Wissing, D.P1989Twee- en multisillabige Afrikaanse simplekse: twee klemtoonreëls of net een?South African Journal of Linguistics7116-124
    • Wissing, Daan2017FonologieVan Schaik
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