A prosodic contrast between Northern and Southern Dutch: a result of a Flemish-French sprachbund

Abstract : The topic of this paper is the hitherto unaddressed issue of differences in behaviour between Northern and Southern Dutch with respect to syllabification and vowel deletion. It is shown that the contrast in both syllabification and vowel deletion between Northern and Southern Dutch boils down to a single difference in the ranking of two well-known constraints proposed in the framework of Optimality Theory (OT), viz. ALIGN and ONSET.
This difference in constraint ranking is exactly the same as the one that can be found in the OT literature in order to explain differences in behaviour between (Northern) Dutch and French. This resemblance in constraint ranking between Southern Dutch and French is striking. Therefore, it can be assumed that Southern Dutch has undergone influences of nearby Romance dialects like Picardian and French. In the literature we find that the language contact between Romance dialects in Northern France on the one hand and Southern Dutch on the other, has given rise to a number of phonological parallels in Romance and Southern Dutch. Hence, phonological change due to language contact in both languages is in no way exceptional. We therefore can assume that the French constraint order: ONSET >> ALIGN is a feature that has crossed the border between French and Dutch.
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Submitted on : Thursday, February 8, 2007 - 3:53:06 PM
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Roland Noske. A prosodic contrast between Northern and Southern Dutch: a result of a Flemish-French sprachbund. Hans Broekhuis, Norbert Corver, Riny Huybrechts / Ursula Kleinhenz, Jan Koster. Organizing Grammar, Linguistic Studies in Honor of Henk van Riemsdijk., Berlin, Mouton de Gruyter, p. 474-482., 2006, Studies in Generative Grammar. ⟨halshs-00129744⟩

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