Friday, December 9, 2016

L-Vocalization in Dutch

Many Dutch words with the letters ou have an l in English. The Dutch words used to have an l, but this l changed into the diphthong ou. The process in which a consonant changes into a vowel is called vocalization.

Here are Dutch words which are examples of l-vocalization:

Arnold Arnoud
bolt bout
cold koud
fault fout
gold goud
malt mout
old oud
salt zout
shoulder schouder
Walter Wouter

This sound correspondence is also found in other Germanic languages. For example, the English word salt is the same in Danish, Norwegian and Swedish and is Salz in German. The word shoulder is skulder in Danish, Norwegian and Swedish and Schulter in German.

The phonological process of l-vocalization is common. In the English dialect of Cockney, syllable-final l is vocalized. Words such as bottle, hole and shelf replace the l with a vowel sound. Many speakers of Brazilian Portuguese also vocalize syllable-final l.

Many Dutch words used to be pronounced with an l. As a result of l-vocalization, this l became ou. This ou often corresponds to an l in English.

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