LINGUIST List 14.2503

Mon Sep 22 2003

Diss: Phonology: van der Torre: 'Dutch...'

Editor for this issue: Takoko Matsui <>


  1. ejvdtorre, Dutch sonorants

Message 1: Dutch sonorants

Date: Sun, 21 Sep 2003 03:54:51 +0000
From: ejvdtorre <>
Subject: Dutch sonorants

Institution: Leiden University
Program: Leiden Centre for Linguistics (ULCL)
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Erik Jan van der Torre 

Dissertation Title: Dutch sonorants: The role of place of articulation
in phonotactics

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field: Phonology 

Subject Language: Dutch (code: DUT )

Dissertation Director 1: Colin J. Ewen
Dissertation Director 2: Marc van Oostendorp
Dissertation Director 3: Keren D. Rice

Dissertation Abstract: 

Couched in a theoretical framework which combines insights from
Element Theory, Government Phonology and Optimality Theory, Dutch
sonorants provides a detailed overview of the distribution and
behaviour of the Dutch sonorant consonants.

Although most theories of phonology treat the various sonorant classes
(nasals, liquids and glides) as homogeneous groups, this dissertation
illustrates that within each of these classes differences in
distribution and behaviour can be observed, both in Dutch and
cross-linguistically. These differences within the sonorant classes
are accounted for by allowing place of articulation specifications to
play a crucial role in the licensing constraints that regulate
syllabification. The influence of place of articulation on
phonotactics is limited to the sonorant consonants of Dutch, because
these segments combine consonantal and vocalic manner properties,
while obstruents and vowels are defined by only consonantal and
vocalic manner properties, respectively. In Dutch, syllabification is
regulated primarily by manner specifications, but for segments whose
manner properties combine both consonantal and vocalic properties,
place of articulation plays a crucial role.

Allowing phonotactic well-formedness constraints to refer to place of
articulation makes it possible to explain, among other things, the
defective behaviour of the Dutch /N/, the difference between Dutch
obstruent-lateral and obstruent-rhotic clusters in words like Teflon
['tEf.lOn] 'Teflon' and zebra ['ze.bra] 'zebra' and the liquid-like
behaviour of the Dutch labio-dental 'glide' /w/.

This study is of interest to linguists concerned with the phonology of
Dutch, the phonology of the Dutch sonorants and sonorants in general,
and to linguists interested in issues of phonotactics.
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