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Closed B-class vowel syllables in final position

Words ending in a (closed) syllable with a B-class vowel have antepenultimate stress. Penultimate primary stress is very rare. Several forms (mostly French loanwords) have final primary stress.


In words with at least three syllables in which a BC-syllable (B-class vowel + consonant) occurs word-finally, there is a strong preference against primary stress on the penult; the majority of the relevant items have final or antepenultimate primary stress. This is clearly noticeable in trisyllabic words where an open penultimate syllable is surrounded by two closed B-class vowel syllables (BC-A-BC). Examples are given in (1) and (2) below:

Example 1

Final stress
artisjok /ar.ti.'sjɔk/ artichoke
bastion /bas.ti.'jon/ bastion
sjampinjon /sjam.pi.'jon/ mushroom
sjarlatan /sjar.la.'tan/ charlatan
lampion /lam.pi.'jon/ paper lantern
salmiak /sɔl.mi.'jak/ sal ammoniac (chemistry); type of liquorice
Example 2

Antepenultimate stress
astrakan /'as.tra.kan/ astrakhan
festival /'fɛs.ti.fɔl/ festival
handicap /'hɛn.di.kɛp/ handicap

In words of the structure A-A-BC, the strong tendency to avoid stress on the penult syllable can be observed as well, yet the pattern is not exceptionless. The words in (3) below, with the structure A-A-BC, have stress on the antepenultimate or final syllable:

Example 3

Antepenultimate stress
hoarizon /'ho:.ri.son/ horizon
[hide extra information]

The word hoarizon horizon has been transcribed as /'ho:.ri.son/, with the A-vowel [o:]; in this position, preceding /r/, however, the latter is realized as the centring diphthong [oə].

Example 4

Final stress
etiket /e:.ti.'kɛt/ label
fiolet /fi.jo:.'lɛt/ violet
[hide extra information]

Words like maraton /'mar.ra:.ton/ marathon (with antepenultimate stress), amulet /a.my.'lɛt/ amulet and karamel /kar.ra:.'mɛl/ caramel (with final stress) have a first syllable with the (short) B-vowel /a/ (see Long and short monophthongs: a different view). The shortness of the syllable ensuing from this, however, may be 'compensated for' by the ambisyllabicity of the consonant following the vowel (as indicated in the transcriptions), which renders such words in accordance with the structure A-A-BC.