West Frisian phonology

This article is about the phonology and phonetics of the West Frisian language.

Vowels

The vowel inventory of West Frisian is very rich.

Monophthongs

Standard West Frisian monophthongs[1][2]
Front Central Back
unrounded rounded
short long short long short long short long
Close i y u
Close-mid ɪ ø øː ə o
Open-mid ɛ ɛː ɔ ɔː
Open a
  • The long vowels are considerably longer than the short vowels. The former are generally over 250 ms, whereas the latter are generally under 150 ms.[3][4]
  • Some speakers merge the long vowels /iː, uː/ with the centering diphthongs /iə̯, uə̯/.[5]
  • /yː/ is infrequent.[6] It and the other long close rounded vowel /uː/ are absent from the dialect of Ljouwert.[7]
  • Many scholars[8] transcribe /ø/ as /ø/, but de Haan (2010) transcribes it as /ʏ/.[9] Phonetically, it is quite similar to /ə/.[10]
  • Although they pattern with monophthongs, the long close-mid vowels transcribed /eː, øː, oː/ are often realized as narrow closing diphthongs [ei̯, øy̑, ou̯].[11][12] However, there are exceptions: for instance, speakers of the Hindeloopers dialect realize /øː/ as a long monophthong [øː].[7]
  • Nearly all words with /øː/ are loanwords from Standard Dutch.[13]
  • /oː/ doesn't occur before /s/.[14]
  • Although they pattern with monophthongs, the long open-mid vowels transcribed /ɛː, ɔː/ tend to be realized as centering diphthongs [ɛə̯, ɔə̯].[15][16]
  • The Hindeloopers and Súdwesthoeksk dialects also feature open-mid front rounded vowels /œ, œː/, which are not a part of the standard language.[7][17]
  • Many scholars[8] transcribe /a/ as /a/, but de Haan (2010) transcribes it as /ɑ/.[9] Its phonetic quality has been variously described as central [ä][3] and back [ɑ].[9]
  • /aː/ is central [äː].[9][3]

Diphthongs

Standard West Frisian diphthongs[1][17]
Starting point Ending point
Front Central Back
Close unrounded (jɪ jø jɛ) iə̯ iu̯
rounded ui̯ yə̯ uə̯ (wa) (wo)
Close-mid unrounded ɪə̯
rounded oi̯ oːi̯ øə̯ oə̯
Open-mid unrounded ɛi̯
rounded œy̑ ɔu̯
Open unrounded ai̯ aːi̯
  • Booij (1989) argues that the rising diphthongs /jɪ, jɛ, wa, wo/ (he also lists the rare /jø/) are in fact glide-vowel sequences, not real diphthongs.[18] This view is supported by Hoekstra & Tiersma (2013) who transcribe them as /jɪ, jɛ, wa, wo/,[19] which is the convention used in this article.
  • In Southwestern dialects, /wa, wo/ are monophthongized to short central [ɞ, ɵ].[20]
  • The closeness of either of the elements of /ɛi̯/ is somewhat variable, so that its phonetic realization is [æi̯ ~ æɪ̯ ~ ɛi̯ ~ ɛɪ̯].[21]
  • The first element of /œy̑/ is more like [œ] than [ø].[21] Many scholars[22] transcribe this sound as /øy̑/, Booij (1989) transcribes it as /ʌy̑/, yet this article transcribes it /œy̑/ to show that it is clearly distinct from the common diphthongal realization of /øː/ (having a much lower starting point) and that it is virtually identical to /œy̑/ in Standard Dutch.
  • Some scholars[23] transcribe /ɔu̯/ as /ɔu̯/, yet others[24] transcribe it as /au̯/. Phonetically, the first element of this diphthong may be either of these, i.e. [ɔ] or, less often, [a].[25]
  • Some varieties realize /ai̯/ as [ɔi̯].[1]
  • Many speakers round the first element of /aːi̯/ to [ɔː].[21]

Breaking

Some falling diphthongs alternate with the rising ones:[1]

Falling Rising
Diphthong Orthography IPA Translation Diphthong Orthography IPA Translation
/iə̯/ stien /ˈstiə̯n/ 'stone' /jɪ/ stiennen /ˈstjɪnən/ 'stones'
/ɪə̯/ beam /ˈbɪə̯m/ 'tree' /jɛ/ beamke /ˈbjɛmkə/ 'little tree'
/uə̯/ foet /ˈfuə̯t/ 'foot' /wo/ fuotten /ˈfwotən/ 'feet'
/oə̯/ doas /ˈdoə̯s/ 'box' /wa/ doaske /ˈdwaskə/ 'little box'
/yə̯/ sluere /ˈslyə̯rə/ 'to meander' /jø/ slurkje /ˈsljørkjə/ 'to meander softly'
  • The /yə̯/ - /jø/ alternation occurs only in the pair mentioned above.[1]

Consonants

Standard West Frisian consonants[26][27]
Labial Alveolar Dorsal Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t k
voiced b d
Fricative voiceless f s x h
voiced v z ɣ
Trill r
Approximant l j
  • /m, p, b/ are bilabial, whereas /f, v/ are labiodental.[28]
    • /v/ has two allophones: an approximant [ʋ], which appears word-initially, and a fricative [v], which occurs elsewhere.[29]
    • In some cases, /d/ alternates with /r/.[30]
    • /r/ is silent before other alveolar consonants.[30][31] An exception to this rule are recent loanwords from Standard Dutch (e.g. sport), which may or may not be pronounced with [r].[32]
  • /ŋ, k, x, ɣ/ are velar, whereas /j/ is palatal.[33]
    • /ɣ/ has two allophones: a plosive [ɡ], which appears word-initially and syllable-initially (the latter only when stressed), and a fricative [ɣ], which occurs elsewhere.[14][34]
  • The syllabic sonorants [m̩, n̩, ŋ̍, l̩, r̩] occur in the following circumstances:
    • In the ending en, which in careful speech is pronounced [ən]:[35]
      • It is realized as [m̩] when preceded by /m, p, b/.[35]
      • It is realized as [n̩] when preceded by /f, v, n, t, d, s, z, r, l/.[35]
      • It is realized as [ŋ̍] when preceded by /k, x, ɣ/.[35]
    • In the endings el and er (in careful speech: [əl] and [ər], respectively), which after consonants are realized as [l̩] and [r̩], respectively.[35]
    • In some other cases. See Sipma (1913:36) for more information.
    • /j/ and the [ʋ] allophone of /v/ are the only sonorants which cannot be syllabic.
  • The sequences /nj, tj, sj, zj/ coalesce to [ɲ, , ɕ, ʑ].
  • Glottal stop [ʔ] may precede word-initial vowels. In careful speech, it may also occur between unstressed and stressed vowel or diphthong.[36]
  • Among fricatives, neither /x/ nor any of the voiced fricatives can occur word-initially.[37]
  • /l/ is velarized [ɫ] in all environments except before the close front vowels /i, iː, y, yː/, where it is realized as clear [l].

Final devoicing

Word-final /b, d/ are realized as voiceless [p, t].[38] Note, however, that final /b/ is rare,[39] and that in loanwords from Standard Dutch, final /ɣ/ can also appear, and is also devoiced to [x].

References

Bibliography

  • Booij, Geert (1989). "On the representation of diphthongs in Frisian". Journal of Linguistics. 25: 319–332. JSTOR 4176008. 
  • de Haan, Germen J. (2010). Hoekstra, Jarich; Visser, Willem; Jensma, Goffe, eds. Studies in West Frisian Grammar: Selected Papers by Germen J. de Haan. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. ISBN 978-90-272-5544-0. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  • Hoekstra, Eric (2003). "Frisian. Standardization in progress of a language in decay" (PDF). Germanic Standardizations. Past to Present. 18. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. pp. 193–209. ISBN 978-90-272-1856-8. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 March 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  • Hoekstra, Jarich (2001). "12. Standard West Frisian". In Munske, Horst Haider; Århammar, Hans. Handbook of Frisian studies. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag GmbH. pp. 83–98. ISBN 3-484-73048-X. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  • Hoekstra, Jarich; Tiersma, Peter Meijes (2013) [First published 1994]. "16 Frisian". In König, Ekkehard; van der Auwera, Johan. The Germanic Languages. Routledge. pp. 505–531. ISBN 0-415-05768-X. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  • Hof, Jan Jelles (1933). Friesche Dialectgeographie (PDF) (in Dutch). The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 October 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  • Keil, Benjamin (2003). "Frisian phonology" (PDF). Los Angeles: UCLA Department of Linguistics. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  • Sipma, Pieter (1913). Phonology & grammar of modern West Frisian. London: Oxford University Press. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  • Tiersma, Peter Meijes (1999) [First published 1985 in Dordrecht by Foris Publications]. Frisian Reference Grammar (2nd ed.). Leeuwarden: Fryske Akademy. ISBN 90-6171-886-4. 
  • van der Veen, Klaas F. (2001). "13. West Frisian Dialectology and Dialects". In Munske, Horst Haider; Århammar, Hans. Handbook of Frisian studies. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag GmbH. pp. 98–116. ISBN 3-484-73048-X. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  • Visser, Willem (1997). The Syllable in Frisian (PDF) (PhD). Leiden: Holland Institute of Generative Linguistics. ISBN 90-5569-030-9. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 

Further reading

  • Cohen, Antonie; Ebeling, Carl L.; Fokkema, Klaas; van Holk, André G.F. (1978) [First published 1961]. Fonologie van het Nederlands en het Fries: inleiding tot de moderne klankleer (in Dutch) (2nd ed.). The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. 
  • Fokkema, Klaas (1961). "Consonantgroepen in de Zuidwesthoek van Friesland". In Heeroma, Klaas Hanzen; Fokkema, Klaas. Structuurgeografie (in Dutch). Amsterdam: Noord-Hollandsche Uitg. Mij. pp. 16–26. 
  • Heeringa, Wilbert (2005). "Dialect variation in and around Frisia: classification and relationships" (PDF). Us Wurk, tydskrift foar Frisistyk. 3–4: 125–167. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  • Tiersma, Peter Meijes (1983). "The nature of phonological representation: evidence from breaking in Frisian". Journal of Linguistics. 10: 59–78. JSTOR 4175665. 
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