Linking elements in compounds: Regional variation in speech production and perception

Author: Esther Hanssen
LOT Number: 297
ISBN: 978-94-6093-079-9
Pages: 195
Year: 2012
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Linking elements in compounds:

Regional variation in speech production and perception

Words like noot+en+kraker (‘nutcracker’) and pan+en+koek (‘pancake’) contain
a linking element en in between the two parts of the compound. In Dutch,
this linking en is most often homographic with the regular plural suffix -en
(noot+en ‘nuts’ - noot+en+kraker ‘nutcracker’). This dissertation investigates
whether the linking element en in spoken Dutch compounds is similar to the
plural suffix -en.

The psycholinguistic studies reported here investigate the pronunciations of
the linking en and the plural suffix -en for Dutch speakers from five different
regions of the Netherlands, and for Frisian-Dutch bilinguals from two regions
of Friesland. Second, the studies reported here investigate whether speakers of
standard Dutch and speakers from different regions of the Netherlands inter -
pret subtle speech variants of linking en as a plural marker. This dissertation
reveals clear regional pronunciation variation of the linking en in compounds
for Dutch speakers. Moreover, the speech variants of Dutch linking en are most
often interpreted as plural forms.

This study is of interest to scholars interested in linguistics, psycholinguistics
and sociolinguistics. It shows the diversity of language: Regional variation ex-
ists in the pronunciation and interpretation of linking elements in Dutch com -
pounds. This implicates that speakers from different, although closely related
linguistic backgrounds arrive at subtly different interpretations in everyday
speech.

Linking elements in compounds:

Regional variation in speech production and perception

Words like noot+en+kraker (‘nutcracker’) and pan+en+koek (‘pancake’) contain
a linking element en in between the two parts of the compound. In Dutch,
this linking en is most often homographic with the regular plural suffix -en
(noot+en ‘nuts’ - noot+en+kraker ‘nutcracker’). This dissertation investigates
whether the linking element en in spoken Dutch compounds is similar to the
plural suffix -en.

The psycholinguistic studies reported here investigate the pronunciations of
the linking en and the plural suffix -en for Dutch speakers from five different
regions of the Netherlands, and for Frisian-Dutch bilinguals from two regions
of Friesland. Second, the studies reported here investigate whether speakers of
standard Dutch and speakers from different regions of the Netherlands inter -
pret subtle speech variants of linking en as a plural marker. This dissertation
reveals clear regional pronunciation variation of the linking en in compounds
for Dutch speakers. Moreover, the speech variants of Dutch linking en are most
often interpreted as plural forms.

This study is of interest to scholars interested in linguistics, psycholinguistics
and sociolinguistics. It shows the diversity of language: Regional variation ex-
ists in the pronunciation and interpretation of linking elements in Dutch com -
pounds. This implicates that speakers from different, although closely related
linguistic backgrounds arrive at subtly different interpretations in everyday
speech.

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