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Co-occurrence restrictions in rhymes

The following table gives examples for each single codaconsonant following each of the native Dutch vowels (examples taken from Theissen et al. 1988 and Cohen 1972). A few interesting observations can be made right away:

In the following sections we will focus on most of these observations in more detail and try to give explanations for the phenomena.

Table 1
coda /ɪ/ /ʏ/ /ɛ/ /ɑ/ /ɔ/ /i/ /y/ /e/ /ø/ /a/ /o/ /u/ /ə/ /ɛi/ /œy/ /ɑu/
/p/ kip pup klep pap mop diep - zeep heup slaap knoop soep hennep pijp kuip -
/t/ wit hut wet mat mot parkiet minuut heet schoet straat boot zoet lemmet mijt spruit hout
/k/ ik druk hek pak rok kubiek kaduuk streek spreuk haak spook boek -(e)lijk wijk pruik pauk
/b/ rib schub neb krab lob Caraïeb kuub - - Zwaab aeroob - - - Huib -
/d/ jid mud bed pad verbod lied - kleed - daad rood hoed - meid huid koud
/f/ gif duf ophef maf stof - - - - - - - gannef - - -
/s/ vis bus bes kas bos - - - - - - - hannes krijs kruis kous
/x/ wig mug beleg vlag nog - - - - - - - jarig - gejuich -
/v/ - - - - - dief - neef gleuf schaaf kloof boef - schijf duif -
/z/ - - - - - kies excuus vlees neus baas roos poes - reis muis saus
/ɣ/ - - - - - vlieg spuug deeg deug laag oog ploeg - vijg getuig -
/h/ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
/m/ slim gum klem dam stom riem kostuum systeem kleum raam boom bloem bliksem rijm pluim -
/n/ kin dun ten kan bon nadien immuun been steun baan toon schoen (ik) open termijn duin clown
/ŋ/ ding bungalow eng zang tong - - - - - - - - - - -
/l/ pil lul cel bal wol hiel moduul meel peul schaal kool doel lepel pijl ruil Paul
/r/ kefir augur ster bar snor bier muur weer deur schaar school boer otter - - -
/ʋ/ - - - - - nieuw uw eeuw - - - - - - - -
/j/ - - - - - - - - - aai ooi roei - - - -

[+] A-class vowel / diphthong + /v, z, ɣ/ and B-class vowel + /f, s, x/

Dutch presents some striking co-occurrence restrictions between vowels and voiced and voiceless fricatives. Whereas A-class vowels and diphthongs can only be followed by voiced fricatives, B-class vowels can only be followed by voiceless fricatives. This is illustrated by the following examples:

Example 1

a. A-class vowel / diphthong + voiced fricative
      heuvel /høvəl/ hill
      vezel /vezəl/ fiber
      vogel /voɣəl/ bird (also [voxəl] )
b. B-class vowel + voiceless fricative
      knuffel /knʏfəl/ hug
      tussen /tʏsə(n)/ between
      lachen /lɑxə(n)/ laugh

There are a few exceptions to this observation. In the two loanwords puzzel/pʏzəl/puzzle and mazzel/mɑzəl/luck a B-class vowel is followed by a voiced fricative. However, an alternative pronunciation of the first item as [ˈpy.zəl] indicates a speaker preference for a sequence of A-class vowel plus voiced fricative.

Secondly, sequences of A-class vowels and voiceless fricatives seem to occur due to the fact that the pronunciation of the voicing contrast between the two dorsal fricatives is given up by speakers of some dialects of Dutch, thus phonetically merging them into the voiceless fricative [x] or even into a more retracted, but nevertheless voiceless, uvular fricative [χ](cf. Gussenhoven 1992). Consequently, this development seemingly results in A-class vowels followed by voiceless fricatives. Nevertheless, the merger may not have taken place on the phonological level since speakers still apply the voicing contrast for the selection of the suitable past tense suffix [-də/-tə]. However, there is also a (much smaller) set of genuine exceptions containing an A-class vowel followed by a voiceless fricative (Van Oostendorp 2003;Visser 1997):

Example 2

goochem /xoxəm/ smart
sjofel /ʃofəl/ shabby
tafel /tafəl/ table
brasem /brasəm/ bream

Van Oostendorp (2003:310) raises the following three questions: first, why do most exceptions involve intervocalic fricatives but less often fricatives in other positions; second, why is the set of exceptions much larger for B-class vowels followed by voiced fricatives than for A-class vowels followed by voiceless fricatives; and third, why can all exceptions of voiceless fricatives after A-class vowels only be found within morphemes and not at morpheme boundaries?

A third group of exceptions related to this observation concerns diphthongs. Whereas A-class vowels and diphthongs usually pattern together phonologically, diphthongs seem to be less compliant with respect to this particular co-occurrence restriction. As can be seen in table (1), all three diphthongs can not only be followed by voiced fricatives but also by /s/ and the diphthong /œy/ can also be followed by the voiceless velar fricative /x/ (although all those examples are scarce). Evidence for underlying voiceless fricatives comes from derived plural or past tense forms: krijs - krijste[ˈkrɛistə]screamed, kruis - kruiste[ˈkrœystə]crossed, kous - kousen and gejuich - juichen - juichte[ˈjœyxtə]cheered. The noun kous[kɑus]stocking does not show the voiced fricative in the plural form kousen[ˈkɑusə(n)] (in contrast to e.g. saus/sɑuz/[sɑus]sauce - sauzen/sɑuzə(n)/[ˈsɑuzə(n)]sauces). Furthermore, all the verb forms mentioned select the past tense suffix -te[-tə] (instead of -de[-də]) which is typical for voiceless obstruent final verb stems (cf. afstoffen/ɑfstɔfə(n)/to dust - stofte af/stɔftə ɑf/[ˈstɔftə ɑf]dusted but kleven/klevə(n)/to stick to - kleefde/klevdə/[ˈklevdə]sticked to).

[hide extra information]

The phonological accounts for this vowel + consonant co-occurrence restriction are very limited. Van Oostendorp's (2003,2007) account rests upon the `Multiple Feature Hypothesis' (cf. Kager et al. 2007, Iverson and Salmons 1995; Avery and Idsardi 2001), i.e. that the voicing contrast only holds for Dutch stops. Van Oostendorp proposes that the contrast in Dutch fricatives is not a laryngeal contrast but a length contrast since there is phonetic evidence that phonetically voiced fricatives are considerably shorter in duration than phonetically voiceless ones. Furthermore, it is assumed that long/voiceless fricatives project one mora, while short/voiced fricatives are not moraic. In the case of vowels, it is additionally assumed that A-class vowels project two moras and B-class vowels project one mora. Combined with the presupposition that stressed syllables must minimally and maximally consist of two moras, the observed cases as depicted in (i) knuf(fel)/knʏfəl/hug and (ii) heuv(el)/høvəl/hill are allowed whereas the cases in (iii) huv(el)/hʏv/ and (iv) kneuf(fel)/knøf/ are prohibited because the resulting structures are either too small or too big, respectively (cf. Van Oostendorp 2007:88).

Figure 1

[click image to enlarge]

The account just presented relies on the fact that A-class vowels and B-class vowels are distinguished by whether they project one or two moras. This might be in conflict with an account that uses the featural contrast of [lax] vs. [tense] for vowels which assumes all A-class vowels and B-class vowels to project one mora. Finally, we will see below that the proposed bi-moraic minimality/maximality condition proves to be problematic when other vowel + non-fricative segment sequences are considered.

[+] Glide restriction

The two Dutch glides /j, ʋ/ can only occur after A-class vowels; they are usually prohibited after B-class vowels and diphthongs. /j/ can only be found after back vowels (/uj, oj, aj/), whereas /ʋ/ occurs exclusively after front vowels (/iʋ, yʋ, eʋ/). Examples are given in (3). The front vowel /ø/ is never followed by a glide. These vowel + glide sequences are also called pseudo diphthongs or 'fake' diphthongs.

Example 3

a. roei /ruj/ row
      ooi /oj/ ewe
      aai /aj/ caress
b. nieuw /niʋ/ new
      uw /yʋ/ your
      eeuw /eʋ/ century .

Exceptional cases of the sequence B-class vowel + glide do occur in a small number of loanwords (4) and in the word hoi/hɔj/hello (examples taken from Booij 1995:44).

Example 4

mais /mɑjs/ corn
Thais /tɑjs/ Thai
detail /də.tɑj/ (also /də.taj/ ) detail
boiler /bɔj.lər/ boiler

As a consequence of the fact that A-class vowels can be followed by maximally one consonant in the same rhyme, glides following A-class vowels cannot be followed by other consonants in the same coda. Coronals seem to be exceptional - cf. the two examples ooit/ojt/sometime or stoeis/stujs/frisky. However, it has been claimed that word-final coronals do not belong to the coda but instead occupy an appendix position (e.g. Moulton 1956) since they are the only consonants that can occur in (phonological) word-final extra-long consonant clusters.

Related to the last-mentioned observation is the question whether real diphthongs should be analysed as complex vowels or sequences of vowel + consonantal glide. Booij (1995:44;1989) argues for diphthongs being complex nuclei since the alternative analysis would result in difficulties in differentiating the phonotactic behavior of real diphthongs and pseudo-diphthongs. All real diphthongs can be followed by most (non-coronal) consonants (e.g. eik/ɛik/oak, duim/dœym/thumb, faun/fɑun/faun), whereas pseudo-diphthongs cannot. Notice that apart from the exceptions in (4), the first element of a pseudo-diphthong must be an A-class vowel, in contrast to real diphthongs whose first element is always a B-class vowel.

[+] Diphthong + coda consonant restrictions

In the previous paragraph we saw that diphthongs should be analysed as complex nuclei in Dutch, patterning with A-class vowels in that they allow for maximally one additional (non-coronal) coda consonant. However, additional restrictions apply to the quality of the consonants following diphthongs.

The two tables below list examples for all attested combinations of the three diphthongs and obstruent coda consonants (see 2) as well as diphthong and sonorant coda consonants (see 3). The examples marked with ** either refer to the only attested example (based on CELEX and Theissen et al. 1988) or to a very small set of examples. Since final devoicing is active in Dutch, related/derived forms are given to provide evidence for the proposed underlying forms.

Table 2
coda consonant /ɛi/ /œy/ /ɑu/
/p/ pijp/pɛip/pipe kuip/kœyp/tub -
/t/ mijt/mɛit/mite spruit/sprœyt/shoot, sprout hout/hɑut/wood
/k/ slijk/slɛik/mud, slime buik/bœyk/stomach pauk/pɑuk/kettledrum
/b/ - **Huib/hœyb/name -
/d/ tijd/tɛid/[tɛit]time (cf. tijden[ˈtɛidə(n)]times) bruid/brœyd/[brœyt]bride (cf. bruiden[ˈbrœydə(n)]brides) goud/xɑud/[xɑut]gold (cf. gouden[ˈxɑudə(n)]golden)
/f/ - - -
/s/ **krijs/krɛis/scream (cf. krijste[ˈkrɛistə]screamed) **kruis/krœys/cross (cf. kruiste[ˈkrœystə]crossed) **kous/kɑus/stocking (cf. kousen[ˈkɑusə(n)]stockings)
/x/ - **gejuich/xə.jœyx/cheering (cf. juichte[ˈjœyxtə]cheered) -
/v/ olijf/o.lɛiv/[oˈlɛif]olive (cf. olijven[oˈlɛivə(n)]olives) druif/drœyv/[drœyf]grape (cf. druiven[ˈdrœyvə(n)]grapes) -
/z/ prijs/prɛiz/[prɛis]price, prize (cf. prijzen[ˈprɛizə(n)]prices, prizes) muis/mœyz/[mœys]mouse (cf. muizen[ˈmœyzə(n)]mice) **saus/sɑuz/[sɑus]sauce (cf. sauzen[ˈsɑuzə(n)]sauces
/ɣ/ vijg/vɛiɣ/[vɛix]fig (cf. vijgen[ˈvɛiɣə(n)]figs) zuig/zœyɣ/[zœyx]to suck (cf. stofzuigde[ˈstɔfzœyɣdə]vacuumed) -

Table 3
coda consonant /ɛi/ /œy/ /ɑu/
/m/ rijm/rɛim/rhyme duim/dœym/thumb -
/n/ termijn/tɛr.mɛin/term, period tuin/tœyn/garden **clown/klɑun/clown
/ŋ/ - - -
/l/ zijl/zɛil/rope uil/œyl/owl **Paul/pɑul/name
/r/ - - -
/j/ - - -
/ʋ/ - - -

[+] *Diphthong + /r, ʋ, j/

A striking observation is the fact that the three (real) diphthongs in Dutch (/ɛi, œy, ɑu/) can neither be followed by the rhotic consonant nor by any of the two glides/j, ʋ/(Booij 1995:34).

As for /r/, this means that (word-final) structures such as /ɛir, œyr, ɑur/ are not found. By contrast, if the diphthong and the rhotic consonant belong to separate syllables, diphthongs and /r/ can indeed co-occur, as exemplified by the (loan)words in (5).

Example 5

a. [ɛi.r]
      Caldeira Caldeira
      Beira Beira
b. [œy.r]
      neuron neuron (also [nø.rɔn] )
c. [ɑu.r]
      aura aura
      thesaurie (public) treasure
      laurier bay leaf

Booij (1995:34, citingKoopmans-van Beinum 1969) states that homosyllabic diphthong + rhotic consonant sequences usually get resolved by schwa-epenthesis, which is the result of conflicting articulatory gestures: all Dutch diphthongs are rising diphthongs involving a rising tongue movement towards high vowel positions, which is opposed to the centralizing gesture that is necessary for the pronunciation of the rhotic consonant.

Secondly, in contrast to A-class vowels, diphthongs cannot be followed by glides. Instead of stating a constraint prohibiting any homosyllabic diphthong + glide sequence, one might propose a moraic explanation for this phenomenon. Following standard Moraic Theory (McCawley 1968;Hyman 1985;McCarthy and Prince 1986;Zec 1988,1995;Hayes 1989;Morén 1999), syllable onsets do not contribute to syllable weight, whereas nucleus and coda positions do. According to a non-length based approach distinguishing A-class vowels and B-class vowels, it is reasonable to assume that both vowel types are monomoraic (notice the difference to the proposal in the extra box above). In contrast, diphthongs, being complex nuclei, are assumed to be bimoraic structures. All coda consonants project a mora in Dutch (see extra above for a possible exception).

According to the Sonority Sequencing Principle(Clements 1990), the sonority should steeply rise for onset + nucleus sequences and mildly decrease or not decrease at all in rhymes, i.e. nucleus + coda consonants. As a consequence of the sonority hierarchy given below, obstruents ideally occur in onset positions and sonorants in coda positions.

Sonority hierarchy
stops < fricatives < nasals < laterals < rhotics < glides < vowels (increasing sonority).

Since glides are the most sonorous non-vowel segments, they prefer to occur in coda positions, consequently projecting a mora. It has been postulated that a bimoraic maximum restriction holds for Dutch syllables (Van Oostendorp 2004). Hence, A-class vowels can be followed by a glide within the same syllable. However, diphthongs already occupy the two available moras and therefore do not leave space for a mora-projecting glide within the same syllable.

There are two questions that immediately arise: first, why can monomoraic B-class vowels apparently not be followed by glides and, second, why can bimoraic diphthongs be followed by consonants other than glides? The first problem seems to be a mere gap, probably due to diachronic language developments, since loanwords that exhibit a B-class vowel + glide sequence are easily integrated into Dutch without changing the vowel (cf. 4). The problem addressed in the second question seems more structural in nature and might again be an effect of the Sonority Sequencing Principle (see above). Whereas highly sonorous glides have a strong preference for coda positions but are dispreferred in following diphthongs within the same syllable due to the bimoraic maximum for Dutch syllables, obstruents following diphthongs can happily be assigned to the onset of a following degenerate syllable, i.e. a syllable with an empty nucleus. Notice that this account adopts a slightly different notion of syllable structure than described in phonotactics at the syllable level. The suggested syllable structure is illustrated in the following figure for the example wijk/ʋɛik/neighbourhood. Notice that the word does begin with a glide in onset position. This is possible since the glide is attached to a strong position - word-initial position and part of an onset that is licensed by the following non-empty nucleus.

Figure 2

[click image to enlarge]

Additional support for such a proposal comes from words containing intervocalic glides. Compare the two words bouw[bɑu]construction (industry) and bouwen[ˈbɑu.ʋə(n)]to build. Whereas in the former word the word-final glide does not surface after the diphthong (it is not licensed in the onset of an empty-headed syllable and therefore unpronounced/deleted), the glide in intervocalic position does surface since its onset position is licensed by the following nucleus containing schwa.

Although this account might appear stipulative at first sight, it makes correct predictions when considering segments of decreasing sonority. Analogously to glides, rhotic consonants are not allowed after diphthongs. So, the claim would be that rhotic consonants cannot occur in onsets of empty-headed syllables either (cf. examples in 5; but raar[rar]weird). In contrast, the less sonorous class of laterals as well as all other even less sonorous consonants are allowed in onsets of empty-headed syllables and therefore can follow diphthongs (cf. zijl/zɛil/rope, uil/œyl/owl, Paul/pɑul/name).

[+] *A-class vowel / diphthong + /ŋ/

The velar nasal /ŋ/ does not occur in syllable onsets in Dutch. Due to the fact that A-class vowels and diphthongs may occur in open syllables and taking into account the Maximal Onset Constraint, any word-medial velar nasal following an A-class vowel or diphthong would have to be syllabified into the onset of a syllable, a position in which it is not allowed. Therefore, A-class vowel/diphthong + velar nasal sequences in word-medial position do not occur (6a). In contrast, since B-class vowels can only occur in closed syllables, a word-medial velar nasal following a B-class vowel needs to be assigned to the coda position as well, i.e. it is ambisyllabic (see figure below). As a result, such a sequence is allowed in Dutch and can be found for all B-class vowels (6b). Notice that for intervocalic velar nasals the second vowel is restricted to schwa.

Example 6

a. engel /ɛŋəl/ angel
      *eengel /*e.ŋəl/
      *eingel /*ɛi.ŋəl/
b. zingen /zɪŋə(n)/ sing
      bungelen /bʏŋələ(n)/ dangle
      brengen /brɛŋə(n)/ bring
      mangel /mɑŋəl/ mangle, wringer
      honger /hɔŋər/ hunger

Figure 3

[click image to enlarge]

Word-finally, the velar nasal /ŋ/ can be found following B-class vowels since the nasal is assigned to the coda position (7a). In contrast, word-final A-class vowel/diphthong + velar nasal sequences cannot be found (7b). The fact that A-class vowels and diphthongs can indeed be followed by word-final bilabial and coronal nasals (8a-b) indicates that the velar nasal restriction does not hold for nasals in general. Furthermore, the fact that A-class vowels and diphthongs can also be followed by a more sonorous (compared to nasals) word-final lateral (8c) suggests that the restriction holding for velar nasals might be structurally motivated.

Example 7

a. ring /rɪŋ/ ring
      eng /ɛŋ/ narrow, frightening
      bang /bɑŋ/ afraid
      tong /tɔŋ/ tongue
b. *eeng /*eŋ/
      *eing /*ɛiŋ/
Example 8

a. Word-final bilabial nasal
      riem /rim/ belt
      kostuum /kɔs.tym/ suit
      systeem /sɪs.tem/ system
      naam /nam/ name
      boom /bom/ tree
      bloem /blum/ flower
      rijm /rɛim/ rhyme
      ruim /rœym/ hold
b. Word-final coronal nasal
      tien /tin/ ten
      teen /ten/ toe
      maan /man/ moon
      zoon /zon/ son
      zoen /zun/ liss
      termijn /tɛr.mɛin/ period
      tuin /tœyn/ garden
      clown /klɑun/ clown
c. Word-final lateral
      ziel /zil/ soul
      molecuul /mo.lə.kyl/ molecule
      keel /kel/ throat
      taal /tal/ language
      school /sxol/ school
      stoel /stul/ chair
      zijl /zɛil/ rope
      ruil /rœyl/ exchange
      Paul /pɑul/ name

Trommelen (1984) provides an overview of traditional accounts concerning the velar nasal restriction. One approach considers the velar nasal [ŋ] as a phonological cluster consisting of a (velar) nasal and a velar obstruent /ŋg/(see Moulton 1962:303;Leys 1970). From the examples (a-c) in table (4) below one could assume that the velar nasal behaves as a single consonant and patterns with the other nasals. However, the examples in table (4d-g) illustrate that this is not the case. Instead it seems that the velar nasal behaves similarly to consonant clusters (see 4h-k) (all examples are taken from Trommelen 1984:158). So, proponents of the cluster approach argue that the `velar nasal cluster' patterns with other homorganic consonant clusters, as shown in table (5). Leys (1970) adds supporting evidence with the alternations koning[ˈkonɪŋ]king vs. koninklijk[ˈkonɪŋklək]king-like and oorsprong[ˈorsprɔŋ]origin vs. oorspronkelijk[orˈsprɔŋkələk]original.

Table 4
a. ram/rɑm/ram ven/vɛn/fen rang/rɑŋ/rank
b. ramp/rɑmp/disaster vent/vɛnt/fellow rank/rɑŋk/slender
c. emmer/ɛmər/bucket kennel/kɛnəl/(dog) kennel engel/ɛŋəl/angel
d. vaam/vam/fathom vaan/van/banner *vaang/*vaŋ/(after long vowels)
e. kerm/kɛrm/moan kern/kɛrn/core *kerng/*kɛrŋ/(2nd member in cluster)
f. map/mɑp/file nap/nɑp/bowl *ngap/*ŋɑp/(initially)
g. smak/smɑk/smack snak/snɑk/crave *sngak/*sŋɑk/(initially preceded by s)
h. *vaamp/*vamp/ *vaank/*vaŋk/ *vaang/*vaŋg/
i. *kermp/*kɛrmp/ *kernk/*kɛrŋk/ *kerng/*kɛrŋg/
j. *mpap/*mpɑp/ *nkap/*ŋkɑp/ *ngap/*ŋgɑp/
k. *smpak/*ampɑk/ *snkak/*sŋkɑk/ *sngak/*sŋgɑk/

Table 5
ramp/rɑmp/disaster rank/rɑŋk/slender rang/rɑŋg/[rɑŋ]rank
amper/ɑmpər/barely anker/ɑŋkər/anchor angel/ɑŋgəl/[ˈɑŋəl]hook

Alternatively, Trommelen (1984), Cohen (1961) and Robinson (1972) argue for a single underlying consonant. First, the second member of a /ng/ŋg/ cluster is not a native segment of Dutch. Further convincing evidence comes from minimal pairs and the selection of the diminutive suffix (see table 6), in which the velar nasal behaves like a single consonant.

Table 6
ram-metjeram-DIM Mokum-pjecity name wigwam-metje - wigwam-pjewigwam-DIM
man-netjeman-DIM heiden-tjeheathen-DIM python-netje - python-tjepython-DIM
bal-letjeball-DIM druppel-tjedrop-DIM serval-letje - serval-tjecat-DIM
kar-retjecart-DIM werker-tjeworker-DIM -
rang-etjerank-DIM houding-kjeattitude-DIM sarong-etje - sarong-kjesarong-DIM

So far we have established that the velar nasal is a single consonant that is restricted to coda positions within a syllable. Lastly, we need to explain why the velar nasal can follow a B-class vowel but cannot follow either A-class vowels or diphthongs. Applying a non-length-based approach to distinguishing Dutch vowels, one is confronted with the problem that monomoraic B-class vowels pattern differently from monomoraic A-class vowels and bimoraic diphthongs. So, a solution to this problem cannot be found in a minimum/maximum restriction on rhymes. Instead we refer to Van Oostendorp (1995;2000) and the syllable theory presented there. The crucial idea is that vowels specified by the feature [lax], i.e. B-class vowels, enforce a branching rhyme structure (see also rhymes), whereas vowels lacking this feature do not. Applied to the velar nasal restriction problem at hand, this gives the desired result. All B-class vowels call for a coda position which can be filled by the velar nasal. Following a non-lax vowel, i.e. an A-class vowel or diphthong, the velar nasal would be assigned to the onset position of a following degenerate syllable, which is impossible. The following representations illustrate the described scenario.

Figure 4

[click image to enlarge]

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