Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2211-7245
  • E-ISSN: 2211-7253
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This contribution focuses on the spelling of single consonants after a vowel without primary stress — and therefore a short duration — in polysyllabic Dutch words, e.g. (‘canal’) and (‘dromedary’). The single consonant can be explained on the basis of the (Dutch-oriented) standard pronunciation with tense vowels like [a] or [o], but it can also be related to the (mostly Romance) etymology of the words. Only a few textbooks on Dutch spelling go into this matter. All of them are Flemish, possibly because Flemings pronounce and perceive vowels in open syllables without primary stress more frequently as lax (e.g., [ɑ], [ɔ]). For some words, however, the etymology is ignored and the spelling may have been adapted to the pronunciation, e.g. double 〈f〉 after the first vowel of (< Fr. – ‘saffron’) and single 〈n〉 after 〈o〉 in (< Fr. – ‘to park’). Although this explanation seems plausible, it raises new questions as well. For example, words like (= type of headwear), (‘pattern’) and (‘African’) also have an [ɑ]-like pronunciation (similar to ), but unlike these words do not have a double consonant. Interestingly, for words like — that contain 〈io〉 + [n] + full vowel — the spelling appears to have changed since the end of the 19th century. De Vries and Te Winkel (1898) still wrote (with 〈nn〉). To get more grip on our topic, a thorough study of the Dutch vocabulary is needed, since at the moment, it is unknown for which Dutch words the etymologically motivated spelling is replaced by a more phonetic one. This additional study will, for example, show which category is the most frequent one: the -type (where the consonant has been doubled) or the -type (where a double consonant has been replaced by a single one).


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): etymologie; gespannen en ongespannen klinkers; Nederlands; spelling; uitspraak
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