This article is about the
phonology and phonetics of the West Frisian language.
The vowel inventory of West Frisian is very rich.
Monophthongs [ edit ]
Close and mid vowels [ edit ]
/yː/ is infrequent. It and the other long close rounded vowel /uː/ are absent from the dialect of Ljouwert.
/ʏ/ is more often transcribed with the symbol ⟨ ø⟩, yet this article uses the symbol ⟨  ʏ⟩ to show that it is identical to standard Dutch /ʏ/. Although they pattern with monophthongs, the long close-mid vowels transcribed
/eː, øː, oː/ are often realized as narrow closing diphthongs [eɪ, øʏ, oʊ]. One of the exceptions is /øː/ in the Hindeloopers dialect, which is realized as a long monophthong [. øː]
/oː/ doesn't occur before /s/. Although they pattern with monophthongs, the long open-mid vowels transcribed
/ɛː, ɔː/ tend to be realized as centering diphthongs [ɛə, ɔə]. The
Hindeloopers and Súdwesthoeksk dialects also feature open-mid front rounded vowels /, which are not a part of the standard language. , œ / œː
Open vowels [ edit ]
transcribe  /a/ as /a/, but de Haan (2010) transcribes it as /ɑ/. Its phonetic quality has been variously described as slightly retracted central [; and less central than ä] /aː/.
/aː/ is slightly retracted central [. äː]
Diphthongs [ edit ]
Booij (1989) argues that the rising diphthongs /jɪ, jɛ, wa, wo/ (he also lists the rare /jʏ/) are in fact glide-vowel sequences, not real diphthongs. This view is supported by Hoekstra & Tiersma (2013) who transcribe them as /jɪ, jɛ, wa, wo/, which is the convention used in this article. In Southwestern dialects,
/wa, wo/ are monophthongized to short central [. , ɞ ] ɵ  Phonetically, the first element of
/ɛi/ can be either [ or ɛ] [. æ] Many scholars
transcribe  /øy/ as /øy/, but Booij (1989) transcribes it as /ʌy/. According to Tiersma (1999), the first element of /øy/ is lower than the vowel /ʏ/ (i.e. more like [, similar to the traditional Standard Dutch pronunciation of œ] /œy/). Some scholars
transcribe  /ɔu/ as /ɔu/, yet others transcribe it as  /au/. Phonetically, the first element of this diphthong may be either of these, i.e. [ or, less often, ɔ] [. a] Some varieties realize
/ai/ as [ɔi]. Many speakers round the first element of
/aːi/ to [. ɔː]
Breaking [ edit ]
Some falling diphthongs alternate with the rising ones:
/ˈbjɛmkə/ 'little tree'
/ˈdwaskə/ 'little box'
/ˈslyərə/ 'to meander'
/ˈsljʏrkjə/ 'to meander softly'
/yə/ - /jʏ/ alternation occurs only in the pair mentioned above.
Consonants [ edit ]
/m, p, b/ are bilabial, whereas /f, v/ are labiodental.
/v/ has two allophones: an approximant [, which appears word-initially, and a fricative ʋ] [, which occurs elsewhere. v] In some cases,
/d/ alternates with /r/.
/r/ is silent before other alveolar consonants. An exception to this rule are recent loanwords from Standard Dutch (e.g. sport), which may or may not be pronounced with [r].
/ŋ, k, x, ɣ/ are velar, whereas /j/ is palatal.
/ɣ/ has two allophones: a plosive [, which appears word-initially and syllable-initially (the latter only when stressed), and a fricative ɡ] [, which occurs elsewhere. ɣ] The syllabic sonorants
[m̩, n̩, ŋ̍, l̩, r̩] occur in the following circumstances:
In the ending ⟨en⟩, which in careful speech is pronounced
It is realized as
[m̩] when preceded by /m, p, b/. It is realized as
[n̩] when preceded by /f, v, n, t, d, s, z, r, l/. It is realized as
[ŋ̍] when preceded by /k, x, ɣ/. In the endings ⟨el⟩ and ⟨er⟩ (in careful speech:
[əl] and [ər], respectively), which after consonants are realized as [l̩] and [r̩], respectively. In some other cases. See
Sipma (1913:36) for more information.
/j/ and the [ʋ] allophone of /v/ are the only sonorants which cannot be syllabic. The sequences
/nj, tj, sj, zj/ coalesce to [. , ɲ , c , ɕ ] ʑ Glottal stop
[ may precede word-initial vowels. In careful speech, it may also occur between unstressed and stressed vowel or diphthong. ʔ] Among fricatives, neither
/x/ nor any of the voiced fricatives can occur word-initially.
/l/ is velarized [ in all environments except before the close front vowels ɫ] /i, iː, y, yː/, where it is realized as clear [. l]
Final devoicing [ edit ]
/b, d/ are realized as voiceless [ in all dialects except , p ] t Amelansk. Note, however, that final /b/ is rare, and that in loanwords from Standard Dutch, final /ɣ/ can also appear, and is also devoiced to [. x]
References [ edit ]
^ For instance by Booij (1989), Tiersma (1999), van der Veen (2001), Keil (2003) and Hoekstra & Tiersma (2013). An example of a scholar that transcribes it with ⟨ ʏ⟩ is de Haan (2010).
^ For instance Booij (1989), Tiersma (1999), van der Veen (2001), Keil (2003) and Hoekstra & Tiersma (2013).
^ Hoekstra (2003:202), citing Hof (1933:14)
^ For instance Tiersma (1999), Keil (2003) and Hoekstra & Tiersma (2013).
^ For instance Booij (1989), Hoekstra (2001) and Keil (2003).
^ For instance Tiersma (1999) and Hoekstra & Tiersma (2013).
^ Based on the consonant table in Sipma (1913:8). The allophones [ɲ, ɡ, β̞] are not included.
Bibliography [ edit ]
Booij, Geert (1989), "On the representation of diphthongs in Frisian", Journal of Linguistics, 25: 319–332, JSTOR 4176008
de Haan, Germen J. (2010), Hoekstra, Jarich; Visser, Willem; Jensma, Goffe, eds., , Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, Studies in West Frisian Grammar: Selected Papers by Germen J. de Haan ISBN 978-90-272-5544-0
Hoekstra, Jarich (2001), "12. Standard West Frisian", in Munske, Horst Haider; Århammar, Hans, , Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag GmbH, pp. 83–98, Handbook of Frisian studies ISBN 3-484-73048-X
Hoekstra, Jarich (2003), "Frisian. Standardization in progress of a language in decay", Germanic Standardizations. Past to Present (PDF), 18, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 193–209, ISBN 978-90-272-1856-8
Hoekstra, Jarich; Tiersma, Peter Meijes (2013) [First published 1994], "16 Frisian", in van der Auwera, Johan; König, Ekkehard, , Routledge, pp. 505–531, The Germanic Languages ISBN 0-415-05768-X
Hof, Jan Jelles (1933), Friesche Dialectgeographie (PDF), The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff
Keil, Benjamin (2003), Frisian phonology (PDF)
Sipma, Pieter (1913), , London: Oxford University Press Phonology & grammar of modern West Frisian
Tiersma, Peter Meijes (1999) [First published 1985 in Dordrecht by Foris Publications], Frisian Reference Grammar (2nd ed.), Ljouwert: Fryske Akademy, ISBN 90-6171-886-4
van der Veen, Klaas F. (2001), "13. West Frisian Dialectology and Dialects", in Munske, Horst Haider; Århammar, Hans, , Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag GmbH, pp. 98–116, Handbook of Frisian studies ISBN 3-484-73048-X
Visser, Willem (1997), The Syllable in Frisian (PDF), Leiden: Holland Institute of Generative Linguistics, ISBN 90-5569-030-9
Further reading [ edit ]
Fokkema, Klaas (1961), "Consonantgroepen in de Zuidwesthoek van Friesland", in Heeroma, Klaas Hanzen; Fokkema, Klaas, Structuurgeografie, Amsterdam: Noord-Hollandsche Uitg. Mij., pp. 16–26
Heeringa, Wilbert (2005), "Dialect variation in and around Frisia: classification and relationships" (PDF), Us Wurk, tydskrift foar Frisistyk, 3–4: 125–167
Tiersma, Peter Meijes (1983), "The nature of phonological representation: evidence from breaking in Frisian", Journal of Linguistics, 10: 59–78, JSTOR 4175665