The similarity of plural endings and linking elements in regional speech variants of Dutch
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Number of pages
SourceLanguage and Speech, 55, 3, (2012), pp. 437-454
Article / Letter to editor
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Nederlandse Taal en Cultuur
SW OZ DCC PL
Language and Speech
SubjectDI-BCB_DCC_Theme 1: Language and Communication; Language in Mind; Psycholinguistics; Speech Production and Comprehension; The algorithmic approach to Dutch verb spelling in between phases of preparation and conclusion
The plural suffix -en (noot+en, 'nuts') is pronounced differently by speakers coming from different regions of the Netherlands. In this study, we compared the pronunciation of the plural suffix -en in phrases (noot+en kraken, 'to crack nuts') with linking en in compounds (noot+en+kraker, 'nutcracker'), because some claim that both are similar (Schreuder, Neijt, van der Weide, & Baayen, 1998), whereas others claim that they are not (Verkuyl, 2007). The pronunciations of 109 participants coming from five regions of the Netherlands were therefore compared in a picture naming task. A systematic relation between the pronunciations of plural -en and linking en was detected: Speakers from the Northern and Eastern regions produced [(e)n] most often for both the linking elements and plural endings, while speakers from the Middle and Western regions produced [e] most often for both. For speakers from the Southern region, we found no preference to pronounce either [e] or [en] in compounds or phrases. It is concluded that Dutch speakers often do not distinguish plural -en from linking en in their speech production. Possibly, speakers of Dutch consider linking en and plural -en as the same morpheme.
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