Close and mid
- As phonemes, /iː/ and /uː/ occur only in the words spieël /spiːl/ 'mirror' and koeël /kuːl/ 'bullet', which used to be pronounced with sequences /i.ə/ and /u.ə/, respectively. In other cases, [iː] and [uː] occur as allophones of, respectively, /i/ and /u/ before /r/.
- /y/ tends to be merged with /i/ into [i].
- /y/ is phonetically long [yː] before /r/.
- When stressed, /ə/ is closer than mid, i.e. [ɨ̞]. Because of that, Donaldson (1993) transcribes it as /ɪ̈/. Many scholars however, simply use /ə/, and that is the transcription that is used in this article.
- In some words such as vanaand /fəˈnɑːnt/ 'this evening', unstressed ⟨a⟩ is actually a schwa /ə/, not /ɐ/.
- /əː/ is always stressed, so it is [ɨ̞ː] phonetically (the reason for which Donaldson (1993) transcribes it as /ɪ̈ː/). It occurs only in the word wîe 'wedges', which is realized as either [ˈvəːə] or [ˈvəːɦə] (with a weak [ɦ]).
- /u/ is weakly rounded, and could be more narrowly transcribed as [u̜] or [ɯ̹]. For this reason, it is sometimes transcribed /ɯ/.
- /ɛ/ contrasts with /ɛː/ only in the minimal pair pers /pɛrs/ 'press' – pers /pɛːrs/ 'purple'.
- Before the sequences /rt, rd, rs/, the /ɛ–ɛː/ and /ɔ–ɔː/ contrasts are neutralized in favour of the long variants /ɛː/ and /ɔː/, respectively.
- The closest unrounded counterparts of /œ, œː/ are central /ə, əː/, rather than front /ɛ, ɛː/.
- /œː, ɔː/ occur only in a few words.
- As a phoneme, /æ/ occurs only in some loanwords from English, such as pêl /pæl/ 'pal', as well as in some words such as vertrek /fərˈtræk/ 'departure'. As an allophone of /ɛ/ before /k, χ, l, r/, [æ] occurs dialectally, most commonly in the former Transvaal and Free State provinces.
- As a phoneme, /æː/ occurs only in some loanwords from English (such as grênd [græːnt] 'grand'), as well as before /k/ in some words. [æː] also occurs as an allophone of /ɛː/ before /r/ and the sequences /rs, rt, rd/.
- /ɐ, ɑː/ are sometimes transcribed with simpler symbols /a, aː/, but the actual phonetic realization of these phonemes is, respectively, [ɐ] and [ɑː].
- In the former Transvaal province, /ɑː/ is realized as rounded [ɒː]. Very rarely, it is also raised to [ɔː].[Does the [ɔː] realization of /ɑː/ merge with /ɔː/?]
- In some words, such as hamer, short /ɐ/ is in free variation with long /ɑː/, despite the fact that the spelling suggests the latter vowel. In some words, such as laat, the pronunciation with short /ɐ/ occurs only in the colloquial language. In some other words, such as aambeeld /ˈɐmbeəlt/ 'anvil', the pronunciation with short /ɐ/ is already a part of the standard language. This shortening of /ɑː/ has been noted as early as 1927.
- The orthographic sequence ⟨ae⟩ can be pronounced as either [ɑː] or [ɑːɦə] (with a weak [ɦ]).
In some instances of the postvocalic sequence /ns/, /n/ is realized as nasalization (and lengthening, if the vowel is short) of the preceding monophthong. This nasalization is stronger in some speakers than others, but there also are speakers that retain the [n] as well as the original length of the preceding vowel.
- The sequence /ɐns/ in words such as dans is realized as [ɐ̃ːs]. In monosyllabic words, this realization is the norm.
- The sequence /ɑːns/ in more common words (such as Afrikaans) is realized as either [ɑ̃ːs] or [ɑːns]. In less common words (such as Italiaans), [ɑːns] is the usual pronunciation.
- The sequence /ɛns/ in words such as mens is realized as [ɛ̃ːs].
- The sequence /œns/ in words such as guns is more often realized as [œns] than [œ̃ːs]. For speakers with the /œ–ə/ merger, these transcriptions are to be read as [ɨ̞ns] and [ɨ̞̃ːs], respectively.
- The sequence /ɔns/ in words such as spons is realized as [ɔ̃ːs].
Collins & Mees (2003) analyze the pre-/s/ sequences /ɐn, ɛn, ɔn/ as phonemic short vowels /ɑ̃, ɛ̃, ɔ̃/. They also note that this process of nasalizing the vowel and deleting the nasal also occurs in many accents of Dutch, for example in The Hague dialect.
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- The scholar Daan Wissing argues that /əi/ is not a phonetically correct transcription, and that /æɛ/ is more accurate. In his analysis, he found that [æɛ] makes for 65% of the realizations, while the other 35% of realizations were monophthongal, namely [ə], [æ] and [ɛ].
- Some sources prescribe monophthongal pronunciations [øː, eː, oː] of /eø, eə, oə/. This is at least a partially outdated approach:
- There is not a complete agreement about the realization of /eø/:
- According to Lass (1987), it is realized as either rising [ë̯ø] or falling [ëø̯], with the rising realization being the most common. The unrounded onset is a rather recent development, and is not described by older sources. The monophthongal realization [ø] is very rare.
- According to Donaldson (1993), it is realized as [øə]. Its onset is sometimes unrounded, which can cause it to merge with /eə/.
- There is not a complete agreement about the realization of /eə, oə/
- According to Lass (1987), these may be realized in four ways:
- Falling diphthongs. Their first element may be short [ëə̯, öə̯] or somewhat lengthened [ëˑə̯, öˑə̯].
- Rising diphthongs [ë̯ə, ö̯ə]. These variants don't seem to appear word-finally. The sequence /ɦoə/ is commonly realized as [ɦö̯ə] or, more often [ö̯̤ə̤], with /ɦ/ realized as breathy voice on the diphthong.
- Indeterminate diphthongs [ëə, öə], which may occur in all environments.
- Monophthongs, either short [ë, ö] or somewhat lengthened [ëˑ, öˑ]. The monophthongal realizations occur in less stressed words, as well as in stressed syllables in words that have more than one syllable. In the latter case, they are in free variation with all of the three diphthongal realizations. In case of /oə/, the monophthongal [ö] also appears in unstressed word-final syllables.
- According to De Villiers (1976), the onsets of [eə, oə] are somewhat closer to cardinal [i, u] than cardinal [e, o], i.e. near-close [ɪə, ʊə].
- According to Donaldson (1993), these are realized as either [eə, oə] or [iə, uə].
- According to Lass (1987), these may be realized in four ways:
- There is not a complete agreement about the realization of /eø/:
- /eə/ also occurs in words spelled with ⟨eë⟩, like reël /ˈreəl/ 'rule'. Historically, these were pronounced with a disyllabic sequence /eː.ə/, thus reël used to be pronounced pronounced /ˈreː.əl/.
- There is not a complete agreement about the dialectal realization of /eə, oə/ in the Boland area:
- Most often, /œi/ has an unrounded offset. For some speakers, the onset is also unrounded. That can cause /œi/ to merge with /əi/, which is considered non-standard.
- /ɔi, ɐi/ occur mainly in loanwords.
- Older sources describe /œu/ as a narrow back diphthong [ou]. However, newer sources describe its onset as more front. For example, Lass (1984), states that the onset of /œu/ is central [ɵu].
- In some words, which in English are pronounced with /əʊ/, the Afrikaans equivalent tends to be pronounced with /œu/, rather than /oə/. This happens because Afrikaans /œu/ is more similar to the usual South African realization of English /əʊ/.
The long diphthongs (or 'double vowels') are phonemically sequences of a free vowel and a non-syllabic equivalent of /i/ or /u/. They are [ɑːi, oːi, ui, (eu), iu]. [eu] tends to merge with [iu], but they are always spelled differently: the former as ⟨eeu⟩, the latter as ⟨ieu⟩.
In diminutives of monosyllabic nouns ending in /ki/, the vowels /ɐ, ɑː, ɛ, eə, ə, ɔ, oə, u, œ/ are realized as closing diphthongs [ɐi, ɑːi, ɛi, ei, əi, ɔi, oi, ui, œi]. In the same environment, the sequences /ɐn, ɛn, ən, ɔn, œn/ are realized as [ɐiɲ, ɛiɲ, əiɲ, ɔiɲ, œiɲ], i.e. as closing diphthongs followed by palatal nasal.
- The suffixes ⟨-aad⟩ and ⟨-aat⟩ (both phonemically /ɑːt/) and the diminutive suffix /ki/ are realized as [ɑːci] (with a monophthong), rather than [ɑːici].
- In practice, the diphthong [əi] is realized the same as the phonemic diphthong /əi/.
- [œi] arisen from diphthongization of [œ] differs from the phonemic diphthong /œi/ by having a slightly different onset. This means that puntjie 'point' sounds somewhat different than puintjie 'rubble'.
- All obstruents at the ends of words are devoiced, so that e.g. a final /d/ is realized as [t].
- /p, t, k, tʃ/ are unaspirated.
- According to some authors, /v/ is actually an approximant [ʋ].
- /k/ may be somewhat more front before front vowels; the fronted allophone of /k/ also occurs in diminutives ending in -djie and -tjie.
- /dʒ, z/ occur only in loanwords.
- /χ/ is most often uvular, either a fricative, [χ] or a voiceless trill [ʀ̥] - the latter especially in initial position before a stressed vowel. The uvular fricative is also used by many speakers of White South African English as a realization of the marginal English phoneme /x/. In Afrikaans, velar [x] may be used in a few "hyper-posh" varieties, and it may also rarely occur as an allophone before front vowels in speakers with otherwise uvular [χ].
- /ɡ/ occurs only in loanwords. In some environments,[which?] [ɡ] is an allophone of /χ/.
- /m/ and /n/ assimilate their articulation to a following obstruent in many cases:
- /l/ is velarized [ɫ] in all positions. This is especially noticeable non-prevocalically.
- /r/ is usually an alveolar trill [r] or tap [ɾ]. In some parts of the former Cape Province, it is realized uvularly, either as a trill [ʀ] or a fricative [ʁ]. The uvular trill may also be pronounced as a tap [ʀ̆].
- Donaldson (1993), pp. 2–7.
- Donaldson (1993), pp. 4–6.
- Donaldson (1993), p. 5.
- Donaldson (1993), pp. 5–6.
- Donaldson (1993), pp. 4 and 6.
- Donaldson (1993), pp. 4 and 6–7.
- Donaldson (1993), p. 3.
- Donaldson (1993), p. 7.
- Swanepoel (1927), p. 38.
- Swanepoel (1927), p. 39.
- Donaldson (1993), pp. 3 and 7.
- For example by Donaldson (1993).
- Lass (1984), pp. 76, 93–94 and 105.
- Donaldson (1993), pp. 7 and 18.
- Donaldson (1993), pp. 6–7.
- Donaldson (1993), p. 6.
- Swanepoel (1927), p. 22.
- Donaldson (1993), pp. 3 and 5.
- Collins & Mees (2003), p. 71.
- Donaldson (1993), pp. 2 and 8–10.
- Lass (1987), pp. 117–119.
- Wissing (2009), p. 333.
- Donaldson (1993), p. 8.
- Lass (1987), p. 117.
- Donaldson (1993), pp. 8–9.
- De Villiers (1976), pp. 56–57.
- Lass (1987), p. 118.
- Cited in Lass (1987:117–118). The preview on Google Books makes it unclear whether De Villiers' book is "Afrikaanse klankleer. Fonetiek, fonologie en woordbou" or "Nederlands en Afrikaans", as both are cited at the end of Lass's chapter.
- Donaldson (1993), p. 10.
- Donaldson (1993), p. 9.
- Swanepoel (1927), p. 44.
- Lass (1984), p. 102.
- Donaldson (1993), p. 12.
- Donaldson (1993), pp. 10–11.
- Donaldson (1993), p. 11.
- Donaldson (1993), pp. 13–15.
- Donaldson (1993), pp. 14–16.
- For example Den Besten (2012).
- Den Besten (2012).
- Donaldson (1993), p. 15.
- "John Wells's phonetic blog: velar or uvular?". 5 December 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2015. Only this source mentions the trilled realization.
- Bowerman (2004:939): "White South African English is one of very few varieties to have a velar fricative phoneme /x/ (see Lass (2002:120)), but this is only in words borrowed from Afrikaans (...) and Khoisan (...). Many speakers use the Afrikaans uvular fricative [χ] rather than the velar."
- Donaldson (1993), pp. 13–14.
- Bowerman, Sean (2004), "White South African English: phonology", in Schneider, Edgar W.; Burridge, Kate; Kortmann, Bernd; Mesthrie, Rajend; Upton, Clive, A handbook of varieties of English, 1: Phonology, Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 931–942, ISBN 3-11-017532-0
- Collins, Beverley; Mees, Inger M. (2003), The Phonetics of English and Dutch, Fifth Revised Edition (PDF), ISBN 9004103406
- Den Besten, Hans (2012), "Speculations of [χ]-elision and intersonorantic [ʋ] in Afrikaans", in van der Wouden, Ton, Roots of Afrikaans: Selected Writings of Hans Den Besten, John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 79–93, ISBN 978-90-272-5267-8
- De Villiers, Meyer (1976), Afrikaanse klankleer: fonetiek, fonologie en woordbou, Balkema
- Donaldson, Bruce C. (1993), "1. Pronunciation", A Grammar of Afrikaans, Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 1–35, ISBN 9783110134261
- Lass, Roger (1984), "Vowel System Universals and Typology: Prologue to Theory", Phonology Yearbook (Cambridge University Press) 1: 75–111, doi:10.1017/S0952675700000300, JSTOR 4615383
- Lass, Roger (1987), "Intradiphthongal Dependencies", in Anderson, John; Durand, Jaques, Explorations in Dependency Phonology, Dordrecht: Foris Publications Holland, pp. 109–131, ISBN 9067652970
- Lass, Roger (2002), "South African English", in Mesthrie, Rajend, Language in South Africa, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521791052
- Swanepoel, J.F. (1927), The sounds of Afrikaans. Their Dialectic Variations and the Difficulties They Present to an Englishman (PDF), Longmans, Green & Co
- Wissing, Daan (2009) , "Die Afrikaanse diftong /E+/: 'n Eksperimentele ondersoek", Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies (Taylor & Francis Group) 23 (3): 319–334, doi:10.2989/16073610509486393
- Canepari, Luciano; Cerini, Marco (2013), Dutch & Afrikaans Pronunciation & Accents (1st ed.), Rome: Aracne, ISBN 978-8854867307
- Combrink, J.G.H.; De Stadler, L.G. (1987), Afrikaanse Fonologie, Johannesburg: Macmillan South Africa
- Debaene, Mathijs (2014), The close front vowels of Northern Standard Dutch, Southern Standard Dutch and Afrikaans: A descriptive, comparative and methodological inquiry (PDF), Ghent: University of Ghent Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
- De Villiers, Meyer (1979), Nederlands en Afrikaans, Goodwood: NASOU Beperk
- Le Roux, Thomas Hugo; de Villiers Pienaar, Pierre (1928), Afrikaanse Fonetiek, Cape Town
- Le Roux, Thomas Hugo; de Villiers Pienaar, Pierre (1950), Uitspraakwoordeboek van Afrikaans, J.L. van Schaik, ISBN 978-8716066497
- Odendal, F. (1989), "Afrikaanse fonetiek", in Botha, T.J.R., Language in South Africa, Pretoria and Cape Town: Academica, ISBN 9780868743516
- Prinsloo, Claude Pierre (2000), A comparative acoustic analysis of the long vowels and diphthongs of Afrikaans and South African English (PDF), Pretoria: University of Pretoria
- van der Merwe, A.; Groenewald, E.; van Aardt, D.; Tesner, H. E.C.; Grimbeek, R. J. (2012) , "The formant patterns of Afrikaans vowels as produced by male speakers", South African Journal of Linguistics (Taylor & Francis Group) 11 (2): 71–79, doi:10.1080/10118063.1993.9723910
- van Wyk, E. B.; Odendal, F. F.; Nkatini, N. L. (2012) , "Comparison between the phonetic systems of Afrikaans and Tsonga", South African Journal of Linguistics (Taylor & Francis Group) 7 (1): 38–45, doi:10.1080/10118063.1989.9723787
- Wilson, James Lawrence (1965), The Phonology of Afrikaans with Some Remarks on Contrasts with Standard Dutch Phonology, Indiana University
- Wissing, Daan (1982), Algemene en Afrikaanse Generatiewe Fonologie, Macmillan South Africa, ISBN 9780869541098
- Wissing, Daan; Martens, J.P.; Goedertier, W.; Janke, U. (2004), Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation: A spoken Afrikaans language resource designed for research on pronunciation variations, Lisbon
- Wissing, Daan (2012), "Akoestiese analise van die vokale van ’n groep bejaarde Afrikaanse vroue", LitNet Akademies 9, ISSN 1995-5928