iron: /@r/ vs syllabic /r/

Donald M. Lance LanceDM at MISSOURI.EDU
Fri Aug 11 19:34:06 UTC 2000

RP is underlyingly whatever it is, but it is surfacely non-rhotic except in environments
that yield a linking rhotic realization.  Larry and I say "Bring back SPE!!!"

"Aaron E. Drews" wrote:

> >
> >         From a more surfacy comparative point of view, it makes sense to
> >recognize the /@r/ as a sequence, since then r-less varieties can be
> >derived by dropping the /r/, but leaving the /@/.
> I would disagree with this.  In short, I would say that RP (and the
> like) have /schwa/ in exactly the same places American (rhotic) has
> /hooked-schwa/.  But, I also assume that RP is 'underlyingly'
> (whatever that means) non-rhotic.
> >I'm guessing, without
> >checking, that at least some versions of RP in England might drop the
> >retroflexion, leaving /ay at n/. Does this ever converge with <ion>?
> I don't think there would be retroflexion at all in <iron>. In either
> a one-syllable or a two-syllable parse, the (r) is in rhyme, and
> cannot, therefore, be realised as [r] ever. In a two syllable parse,
> the second syllable would have to be /-r at n/ in order for [r] to be
> realised.... leading to a spelling pronunciation.
> As for <iron> and <ion> becoming homophonous: definitely possible,
> especially in normal speech.  In citation forms, you might get a
> short, lax, back, rounded vowel (upside-down script 'a'.... bloody
> ascii) for <ion>, but that's listed as a secondary pronunciation in
> my pronouncing dictionary.
> --
> ________________________________________________________________________
> Aaron E. Drews                               The University of Edinburgh
>      Departments of English Language and
> aaron at                    Theoretical & Applied Linguistics
> Bide lang and fa fair  \\  //
>                          \\// /
>                              /

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