• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
The labiodental fricatives /f/ and /v/
quickinfo

Features
A possible feature specification of  /f/ is -sonorant, -voice, +labial, -coronal, -velar, +continuant.

Phonotactic behaviour
As a prototypical voiceless fricative, /f/ can occur in onset clusters of one or two consonants, such as in 1a and 1b respectively. Clusters of sfr or sfl are unattested in Dutch however. Furthermore, /f/ can occur in simple and complex codas, such as in 2a and 2b respectively.

Example 1

Onset
a. feest horse
b. fruit fruit
Example 2

Coda
a. lef courage
b. erf inherit

Features
A possible feature specification of  /v/ is -sonorant, +voice, +labial, -coronal, --velar, +continuant.

Phonotactic behaviour
As a voiced fricative, /v/ can occur in onset clusters of one or two consonants, such as in 3a and 3b respectively. Furthermore, /v/ can occur in simple and complex codas underlyingly, such as in 4a and 4b, respectively, but neutralizes to [f] in that position because of final devoicing.

Example 3

Onset
a. vuil dirty
b. vrees fear
Example 4

Coda
a. leef live
b. kalf calve

/v/ is clearly the voiced counterpart of /f/. Voicing assimilation of the latter segment yields [v], as in 5a, and inversely, final devoicing can turn [v] into /f/, as in 5b:

Example 5

a. af+dingen   a /fd/  ingen a [vd]  ingen haggle (lit. off+thing)
b. opvallend   o /pv/  allend o [pf]  allend remarkable
readmore
[+] Articulatory information

Dutch /f/ is a voiceless and /v/ a voicedlabiodentalfricative. There is a light contact between the inside of the lower lip and the upper front teeth, at a point somewhat more retracted than that in English (Collins and Mees 2003: 190).

Labiodental
speech sounds produced at labiodental place of articulation, i.e. by a constriction between the upper teeth and the lower lip. See the human speech organs.

Fricative
consonant involving turbulent airflow through a narrow channel produced by close approximation of the active and passive articulators. See the human speech organs.


Figure 1: The human speech organs

[click image to enlarge]

[+] Acoustic information

Labiodental
in fricatives, involving noise characterised by a relatively flat distribution of energy across the spectrum (no obvious prominence peaks). Centre of gravity is relatively high compared to other fricatives.

Fricative
consonant involving aperiodic energy ( noise)

Dutch /f/ and /v/ are characterised by diffuse spectral energy, and have a centre of gravity of over 6000 Hz for both /f/ and /v/ (in female speakers of Northern Standard Dutch (Hamann and Sennema 2005)).

[+] Examples

Table 1: Soundfiles, waveforms and spectrograms of the above sound files, with indications of the relevant acoustic parameters of Northern Standard Dutch /f/
wordgroup phonological context soundfile waveform/spectogram
op je feestat your party word-initial
[click image to enlarge]
de duffe, grijze dinsdagthe dull, grey Tuesday intervocalic
[click image to enlarge]
(...) riep de neef(...) called the nephew word-final
[click image to enlarge]

Table 2: Soundfiles, waveforms and spectrograms of the above sound files, with indications of the relevant acoustic parameters of Southern Standard Dutch /f/
wordgroup phonological context soundfile waveform/spectogram
nationaal feestnational party word-initial
[click image to enlarge]
met doffe ogenwith glazed eyes intervocalic
[click image to enlarge]
van haar neeffrom her nephew word-final
[click image to enlarge]

Table 3: Soundfiles, waveforms and spectrograms of the above sound files, with indications of the relevant acoustic parameters of Northern Standard Dutch /v/
wordgroup phonological context soundfile waveform/spectogram
haar val uit het raamher downfall out of the window word-initial
[click image to enlarge]
hoeveel voldoening het hem zou gevenhow much satisfaction it would give him intervocalic
[click image to enlarge]

Table 4: Soundfiles, waveforms and spectrograms of the above sound files, with indications of the relevant acoustic parameters of Southern Standard Dutch /v/
wordgroup phonological context soundfile waveform/spectogram
als een rat in de vallike a rat in the trap word-initial
[click image to enlarge]
(...) om het maar op te geven(...) just to give it up intervocalic
[click image to enlarge]
[+] Variation: voicing of /v/

The voicing distinction between the two labiodentalfricatives is currently unstable for many speakers of Northern Standard Dutch, especially in initial position, where some speakers have only voiceless realisations of both /f/ and /v/. The devoicing of /v/ is likely to be an ongoing change in Northern Standard Dutch, with fully voiceless realisations increasing steadily over the past century. Van de Velde et al. (1996) records around 25% fully voiced realisations of /v/ in 1993 in his study of Standard Dutch used by radio journalists.

In Belgian Standard Dutch, voiced realisations of /v/ are more common, though there is a trend towards devoiced realisations in recent years (Van de Velde et al. 1996: 98).

References:
  • Collins, B. & Mees, I2003The Phonetics of English and DutchLeidenE.J. Brill
  • Hamann, Silke & Sennema, Anke2005Acoustic differences between German and Dutch labiodentalsZAS Papers in Linguistics4233-41
  • Velde, Hans van de, Gerritsen, Marinel & Hout, Roeland van1996The devoicing of fricatives in Standard Dutch: A real-time study based on radio recordingsLanguage Variation and Change8149-175
  • Velde, Hans van de, Gerritsen, Marinel & Hout, Roeland van1996The devoicing of fricatives in Standard Dutch: A real-time study based on radio recordingsLanguage Variation and Change8149-175
Suggestions for further reading ▼
phonology
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show more ▼
morphology
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
  • -schap (de)
    [61%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Nouns > Nominal suffixes
  • Nominal suffixation: diminutives
    [61%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Nouns > Nominal suffixes
  • -aal and -eel
    [59%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Nouns > Nominal suffixes
  • -ist
    [59%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Nouns > Nominal suffixes
  • -heid
    [59%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Nouns > Nominal suffixes
Show more ▼
syntax
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show more ▼
cite
print