Voice and Length in Dutch Fricatives

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Voice and Length in Dutch Fricatives

Author: Joeri Vinke
Source: LingUU Journal, Vol. 6, Iss. 1, pp. 39-53
Year: 2022
Published by: LingUU Journal

Abstract
Fricatives are often described as sensitive to devoicing. In Dutch for example they lose voice in final devoicing and do not participate as assimilator in regressive voice assimilation. In a classical rule-based analysis of these Dutch voice phenomena (as described in Zonneveld (2007)) the unwillingness of fricatives to share their voice feature must be described using rules of both progressive and regressive voice assimilation. This analysis crucially relies on an underlying voice distinction. In this paper, I will argue that relying on a distinction in length leads to a simpler analysis and better description of the data. Following up on work by Van Oostendorp (2002), I will argue that taking this approach provides a more minimal account of the behaviour of Dutch fricatives in assimilation contexts as well as providing us with a clear solution to a distributional gap in the phonotactics of short/long vowels and voiced/voiceless fricatives in rhymes that was described by Van der Hulst (1985).

Keywords
voice; fricative length; devoicing; phonotactics