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Vowel nasalization

The sequence of an oral vowel + the coronal nasal /n/ is turned into a nasal vowel when preceding one of the consonants /f,v,s,z,r,l,j,w/. See the Vowel Nasalization Scheme below and the examples in (1):

Table 1
Vowel Nasalization Scheme
vowel + /n/ + /f,v,s,z,r,l,j,w/
⇒ nasal vowel + /f,v,s,z,r,l,j,w/
Example 1

Examples with the word dyn /din/ 'your'
dyn fyts [dĩ fits] your bicycle
dyn wanten [dĩ vɔntn̩] your gloves
dyn suster [dĩ søstr̩] your sister
dyn rêch [dĩ rɛ:x] your back
dyn ljedder [dĩ ljɛdr̩] your ladder
dyn jas [dĩ jɔs] your coat
dyn huodden [dĩ wodn̩] your hats

The nasal consonant /n/ disappears while its nasality is carried over to the vowel. In underlying representation, the feature [nasal] is restricted to consonants in Frisian, so a nasalized vowel is articulated 'in a consonantal way'. But it maintains the function which is typical of vowels, that of syllable head. A nasalized vowel therefore is a kind of 'compromise' between vowel and /n/. This Vowel Nasalization is one of the most general phonological processes of Frisian.

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Though vowel nasalization is one of the most general phonological processes of Frisian, there are some exceptions, all of them loanwords. Examples are kwintessens [kwɪntəsɛns] quintessence, menza [mɛnza] university restaurant, monstrum [monstrəm] monstrosity, sensor [sɛnzɔr] sensor, sjans (hawwe) [sjans] be given the come-on, transformator [transfɔrma:tɔr] transformer, transport [transpɔrt] (and more words with trans- as their left-hand part).

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The Frisian dialects and the mixed Dutch-Frisian dialects all have vowel nasalization, in much the same vein as Frisian. In not having it, the Frisian dialect of the island of Schiermonnikoog is a striking exception.