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Title:Vowel duration, syllable quantity and stress in Dutch
Authors:Carlos Gussenhoven
Abstract:Vowel duration, syllable quantity and stress in Dutch

Carlos Gussenhoven

University of Nijmegen

A persistent conundrum in the analysis of stress in Dutch has been the

fact that closed syllables attract stress in positions where long

vowels apparently do not. This type of selective quantity-sensitivity

is highly marked: in quantity-sensitive languages, long vowels are

heavy (and stressed), while in addition, such a language may require

closed syllables to be heavy (and stressed). This paper shows that the

solution to the Dutch case is that so-called long vowels attract

bimoraicity when stressed. Unstressed syllables are monomoraic and in

those positions these long vowels do not differ in duration from short

vowels. That is, Dutch not only has high-ranking Stress-to-Weight, but

also high-ranking Weight-to-Stress (pace Prince 1990). Truly long

vowels, which Dutch uses in recent loans, never appear in unstressed

positions, so that underlying long vowels and closed syllables are

heavy, and tense vowels are bimoraic when they end up stressed by

regular footing.

The revised representation of the quantity of Dutch vowels not only

accurately predicts vowel durations on the basis of mora structure,

but also allows the stress facts to be derived in a manner that was

envisaged in recent descriptions by Nouveau and van Oostendorp, but

was crucially frustrated by their failure to analyse unstressed

syllables, like the first syllable in [ar.'ma:.da] 'armada', as


The paper is to be published in an as yet unspecifiable volume.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1