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The consonants conditioning Vowel Nasalization as continuant segments

The consonants conditioning Vowel Nasalization are /f,v,s,z,r,l,j,w/. Their characterization as continuant segments is the subject of this topic.


An overview of the consonants conditioning Vowel Nasalization is provided below:

The consonants conditioning vowel nasalization

  • the fricatives /f,v,s,z/
  • the liquids /r,l/
  • the glides /j,w/
Fricatives, liquids, and glides are continuant consonants, so they have the feature +continuant in common.

Now, not all continuant consonants trigger nasalization. The laryngeal /h/, though a +continuant consonant, does not, as the examples in (1) make clear:

Example 1

/h/ does not trigger nasalization
myn hân /min hɔ:n/ [minhɔ:n] [*mĩhɔ:n] my hand vs myn lân /min lɔ:n/ [mĩlɔ:n] [*minlɔ:n] my land
sa'n hage /san ha:ɣə/ [sanha:ɣə] [*sãha:ɣə] such a hedge vs sa'n flage /san fla:ɣə/ [sãfla:ɣə] [*sanfla:ɣə] such a flag

With respect to nasalization then /h/-initial words behave as vowel-initial (see the glottal fricative /h/).

The lateral /l/, on the other hand, does trigger nasalization, although its characterization as a +continuant segment is far from self-evident (see the liquids).

Though vowels, finally, are the continuant segments par excellence, the sequence vowel-i + /n/ + vowel-j is never realized as nasal vowel-i + vowel-j. The reason is that a word-internal configuration of two vowels in hiatus is forbidden in Frisian. The upshot of this is that only +continuant consonants trigger vowel nasalization.