Devoicing consonants in the middle of words

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jasons89
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Devoicing consonants in the middle of words

Post by jasons89 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:56 am

So I know that for words that end with a voiced consonant, you're supposed to pronounce it as the unvoiced equivalent, such as:
heb -> "hep"
stad -> "stat"

But what about in compound words where one of the components is itself a word that ends in an voiced consonant?
Should I pronounce, for instance, stadhuis, as "stathuis", or should I leave the D as a D?

Also, is there a general rule for knowing when to devoice consonants in other situations (such as nederlandse -> "nederlantse"), or do I just need to learn these on a case-by-case basis?

Thanks.

ngonyama
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Re: Devoicing consonants in the middle of words

Post by ngonyama » Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:05 am

jasons89 wrote:So I know that for words that end with a voiced consonant, you're supposed to pronounce it as the unvoiced equivalent, such as:
heb -> "hep"
stad -> "stat"

But what about in compound words where one of the components is itself a word that ends in an voiced consonant?
Should I pronounce, for instance, stadhuis, as "stathuis", or should I leave the D as a D?

Also, is there a general rule for knowing when to devoice consonants in other situations (such as nederlandse -> "nederlantse"), or do I just need to learn these on a case-by-case basis?

Thanks.
Hmm, that's not easy to answer. One reason why the orthography maintains the final 'b' and the 'd' is that in the plural where the consonant is followed by a vowel the voicing is clearly pronounced: hebben, steden really have /b/ and /d/. For me that also holds for stadhuis because the h is also a voiced entity, but others may disagree. In "Nederlandse" I would assimilate to /ts/ because the s that follows is voiceless or else simply elide: nederlanse. d's are pretty vulnerable in median position which explains mede->mee or zegde->zeide->zei.

However, assimilation is pretty personal and regional and (de)voicing even more so. Around Amsterdam and in North Holland there are hardly voiced consonants at all. In Santfoort sal je de son in de see sien sinke.

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