An Experimental View of the Dutch Syllable provides a description of the syllable in Dutch from a phonological and a phonetic point of view. The central hypothesis of this thesis is the ‘Metrical Segment Duration Hypothesis’ by which it is assumed that the relative durations of segments are a reflection of (phonological) syllable constituency.
The thesis reports on a series of experiments which focus on the durations of consonants and consonant clusters at the word-onset, the word-coda and in intervocalic position. Phonological assumptions concerning the hierarchical nature of word-onsets and word-codas, and assumptions concerning the location of syllable breaks, are confirmed to a considerable degree by the results of these experiments. However, the durationally motivated hierarchies differ from the phonological hierarchies. Also, language-specific phonological rules seem to be phonetically overruled by universal principles.
This study is of interest to theoretical phonologists and experimental phoneticians, as well as researchers working in the field of speech technology.