linguist like to argue with (or criticize) non-linguists, too

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Thu Jun 6 11:56:11 UTC 2002

In a message dated 06/05/2002 10:27:53 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
mam at THEWORLD.COM writes:

> I sure would, but why three syllables? [dlI'fLk], with syllabic [l] in
>  the second syllable.

/dli filk/ would work in a language like French or (I think) Japanese that
does not accent syllables. In a language like English or Russian, with a
strong accent and a habit of ghettoizing the vowels in the unaccented
syllables, the first syllable of /dli 'filk/ would get slurred to the point
of being unrecognizable. Even in a language with a moderate accent (like
Spanish) in which vowels of unaccented syllables are pronounced distinctly,
unaccented /dli/ is borderline.  Since I specified an accented final syllable
(I tried accents on all 3 syllables and that was the clear esthetic winner),
I broke "DLI" into two syllables to keep it from getting slurred and making
sure all the consonants were recognizable.

I tried a schwa in the first syllable but that made it sound like the surname
"de le Filk" which is a grammatical error in both French and Spanish, so I
used /i/ in both the first two syllables.

So there!

    - Jim Landau

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