• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
Generalizations on the placement of primary stress in loanwords
quickinfo

As to the placement of primary stress in loanwords ‒ which count as monomorphemic words ‒ certain generalizations hold. Since these loanwords enter Frisian via Dutch, the generalizations pertaining to the Dutch stress system also hold for the Frisian one (for comprehensive overviews of the Dutch system, see Kager (1989) and Booij (1995)). These generalizations, however, are not exceptionless; rather, they present (more or less strong) tendencies.

Based on their strengths, Kager (1989:225-240) divides these generalizations into major and minor generalizations. In the sections below, each generalization is illustrated in a table. The possible four final syllables of a word are indicated as follows: PAPU (preantepenultimate), APU (antepenultimate), PU (penultimate), U (ultimate). An x in the table indicates which position is stressed. Preferred patterns are marked with √, disallowed ones with *.

readmore
[+] Major generalizations

The first major generalization is the Three-Syllable Window, a principle stating that primary stress can only fall on one of the last three syllables of a word.

Table 1
PAPU APU PU U Examples
x ekology/e:.ko:.lo:.'ɡi/ecologyfonology/fo:.no:.lo.'ɡi/phonology
x makaroany/mak.ka.'roə.ni/macaroniavokado/av.vo:.'ka:.do:/avocado
x magnoalia/maɣ.'noə.li.ja/magnoliatarantula/tar.'ran.ty.la:/tarantula
* x ekology/*'e:.ko:.lo:.ɡi/makaroany/*'mak.ka.roə.ni/tarantula/*'tar.ran.ty.la:/
The second major generalization is the Schwa Restriction, a principle stating that primary stress occurs directly before a syllable containing schwa (which itself cannot be stressed).
Table 2
APU PU U Examples
x ə palissade/pal.li.'sa:.də/palisademirakel/mi.'ra:.kəl/miracle
* x ə palissade/*pal.'li.sa:.də/mirakel/*'mi.ra:.kəl/
* x palissade/*pal.li.sa:.ˈdə/mirakel/*mi.ra:.'kəl/
The third major generalization is the Closed Penult Restriction, a principle stating that primary stress cannot be on the antepenult if the penult is closed and contains a full vowel.
Table 3
APU PU U Examples
x aginda/aɡ.'ɡɪn.da/agendafakânsje/fak.'kɔ̃:.sjə/holidays
* x agenda/*'aɡ.ɡɪn.da/fakânsje/*'fak.kɔ̃:.sjə/

[+] Minor generalizations

The first minor generalization is that superheavy final syllables have final primary stress. Whether or not a syllable counts as superheavy is determined on the basis of its rhyme structure. A superheavy syllable minimally contains either an A-class vowel plus one consonant (AC), a diphthong plus a consonant (DC), or a B-class vowel plus two consonants (BCC). (SH) in the table stands for superheavy syllable, in other words, the last syllable is superheavy.

Table 4
APU PU U Examples
x (SH) aventoer/av.von.'tuər/adventuredokumint/do:.ky.'mɪnt/document
* x (SH) aventoer/*av.'von.tuər/dokumint/*do:.'ky.mɪnt/
* x (SH) aventoer/*'av.von.tuər/dokumint/*'do:.ky.mɪnt/
The second minor generalization is the Diphthong Restriction: words ending in a diphthong have final primary stress.
Table 5
APU PU U Examples
x batterij/bat.tə.'rɛj/batterylakei/lak.'kɛj/lackey
* x batterij/*bat.'tə.rɛj/lakei/*ˈlak.kɛj/
* x batterij/*'bat.tə.rɛj/
The third minor generalization is that words ending in a syllable with a (closed) B-class vowel have antepenultimate stress. Penultimate primary stress is rare and is mainly restricted to French loanwords. More details about this generalization can be found in Closed B-vowel syllables in word-final position.
Table 6
APU PU U Examples
x albatros/'ɔl.ba.trɔs/albatrosskarnaval/'kar.na.fal/carnival
* x albatros/*ɔl.'ba.trɔs/karnaval/*kar.'na.fal/
* x albatros/*ɔl.ba.'trɔs/karnaval/*kar.na.'fal/But: apostrof/ap.po:.'strɔf/apostrophekarrûsel/kar.ru.'sɛl/carousel
The fourth minor generalization is that words ending in an open syllable with an A-class vowel have penultimate primary stress.
Table 7
APU PU U Examples
x aorta/a.'ɔr.ta/aortasolo/'so:.lo:/solo
* x aorta/*a.ɔr.'ta/solo/*so:.'lo:/But: orchidee/ɔr.xi.'de:/orchidkopy/ko:.'pi/copy
* x aorta/*'a.ɔr.ta/But: omega/'o:.me:.ɣa/omegabrokkoly/'brɔk.ko:.li/broccoli
[hide extra information]
x

More on the distinction between A-class and B-class vowels can be found in Long and short monophthongs: a different view.

[+] Categories

The generalizations mentioned above can be divided into three categories: strong, solid or weak. These categories indicate whether or not a specific generalization has a strong status. If a generalization is strong, it has no or only a few counter-examples, if it is solid, it has some counter-examples and if it is weak, it has various counter-examples. The table below shows the generalizations mentioned and to which category they belong:

Table 8
Category Definition Generalization
Strong No or a few counter-examples Three-Syllable Window, Schwa restriction, Closed Penult Restriction, Superheavy syllables of structure DC, Superheavy syllables of structure AC, Diphthong restriction
Solid Some counter-examples Superheavy syllables of structure BCC, words ending in an open syllable with an A-class vowel have penultimate primary stress (for disyllabic forms)
Weak Various counter-examples Words ending in a closed syllable with a B-class vowel receive antepenultimate stress, words ending in an open syllable with an A-class vowel have penultimate primary stress (for trisyllabic forms)

[+] Segmental restrictions

Certain segments and segmental combinations do not carry stress or affect stress placement. In the strongest sense this is the case for schwa, which never receives stress (Schwa Restriction), but usually occurs directly after the stressed syllable. The combination of high vowel plus homorganic glide tends to avoid stress, at least in specific positions within the word. More details about this segmental combination can be found in High vowel + homorganic glide restriction.

[+] Phonetic correlates of stress

Stress has the following phonetic correlates:

  • duration,
  • lack of vowel reduction
  • pitch
Duration Both primary and secondary stress affect vowel duration. A detailed study on this matter in Dutch is Rietveld et al. (2004); a summary of the main results can be found in Rietveld et al. (2004:370). Vowels in syllables with primary or secondary stress are longer than those in unstressed syllables, whereas vowels in syllables carrying main stress, in turn, are longer than those in secondarily stressed syllables. This leads to the following durational hierarchy:

Vowel length (primary stress) >> Vowel length (secondary stress) >> Vowel length (unstressed)

Vowel reduction. This is a negative phonetic correlate. The location of stress has an effect on the possibility of vowel reduction: only unstressed vowels can reduce to schwa, whereas stressed vowels never reduce (this is true for primary as well as secondary stress). Vowel reduction is optional and interacts with different factors such as speech style and the quality of the target vowel (see Vowel reduction for a detailed treatment).

Pitch. If a word carries the sentence accent, then the syllable carrying primary stress will be marked with an intonational pitch accent. The pitch movement will differ depending on the pragmatic meaning of the utterance (like declaration vs. interrogation) and the sentence position of the word carrying the sentence accent (initial, medial, final).

For more on the generalizations on the placement of primary stress in loanwords, see the following topics:

References:
  • Booij, Geert1995The phonology of DutchOxfordOxford University Press
  • Kager, René1989A Metrical Theory of Stress and Destressing in English and DutchDordrechtForis
  • Kager, René1989A Metrical Theory of Stress and Destressing in English and DutchDordrechtForis
  • Rietveld, Toni, Kerkhoff, Joop & Gussenhoven, Carlos2004Word prosodic structure and vowel duration in DutchJournal of Phonetics32349-371
  • Rietveld, Toni, Kerkhoff, Joop & Gussenhoven, Carlos2004Word prosodic structure and vowel duration in DutchJournal of Phonetics32349-371
Suggestions for further reading ▼
phonology
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show more ▼
morphology
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
  • Separable complex verbs (SCVs)
    [78%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Compounding
  • -achtig
    [77%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Adjectives > Adjectival suffixes
  • Adjectival inflection
    [76%] Dutch > Morphology > Inflection
  • -ing
    [76%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Nouns > Nominal suffixes
  • -ig
    [75%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Adjectives > Adjectival suffixes
Show more ▼
syntax
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show more ▼
cite
print