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Final Devoicing: obstruent sequences
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Word-final obstruent sequences show up as voiceless, whether they are part of simplex words or of inflected or derived ones. A simplex word like deugd/dø:ɣd/virtue and a phrase like wat dreechs/dre:ɣ+s/something difficult are realized as [dø:xt] and [dre:xs], so with voiceless [-xt] and [xs], repectively. The devoicing of word-final obstruent sequences is the subject of this topic.

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Word-final obstruent sequences show up as voiceless, whether they are part of simplex words or of inflected or derived ones. Some examples are provided in (1):

Example 1

Examples of the realization of a final obstruent sequence in simplex words
deugd /dø:ɣd/ [dø:xt] virtue ; cf. deugden [dø:ɣdn̩] virtues
blabz /blabz/ [blaps] mud, sludge ; cf. blabzich [blabzəx] sludgy
flods /flodz/ [flots] cunt ; cf. flodzich [flodzəx] boggy, swampy

In simplex words, obstruent sequences share one voice specification (see onset: sequences of two obstruents and word-final sequences of two obstruentys), which implies that they are affected by Regressive Voice Assimilation in one swoop (see regressive voice assimilation of obstruent sequences). This implies that Final Devoicing also affects both members of the sequence at the same time.

Inflectional and derivational processes can also give rise to word-final obstruent sequences, of which (2) gives some examples:

Example 2

Examples of the realization of word-final obstuent sequences which result from inflection or derivation
(hy) laadt /la:d+t/ [la:tt] (→ [la:t] ) (he) loads
(hy) hâldt /hɔ:d+t/ [hɔ:tt] (→ [hɔ:t] ) (he) holds
(wat) dreechs /dre:ɣ+s/ [dre:xs] (something) difficult
(wat) hurds /hød+s/ [høts] (something) hard, firm, solid

In underlying representation the obstruents of these sequences have opposing voice values. Now, since a word-final obstruent is voiceless at the surface and obstruents constituting a sequence must agree in voicing, the voicing conflict at hand can only be resolved by the devoicing of the left-most obstruent (this is indicated in (2), see the (left-most) form between square brackets).

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If devoicing results in a sequence of two identical obstruents, as in the first two examples in (2), degemination makes sure that one obstruent remains.

References:
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