/r/ deletion and insertion

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Thu Jul 27 19:08:48 UTC 2006

On Jul 27, 2006, at 1:59 AM, Nancy Hall wrote:

> There is a sporadic process by which English speakers (of rhotic
> dialects) may delete an /r/ in a word that contains another /r/. Some
> common examples of this dissimilation include:
> Feb(r)uary (here a /y/ appears when /r/ deletes)
> lib(r)ary
> vet(er)inarian
> temp(er)ature
> su(r)prise

the third and fourth probably got there in two steps:
   C at r@ > Cr@ > C@  (where @ stands for whatever reduced vowel you
have in the word in question)

also: pa(r)ticular and qua(r)ter (esp. in the name of the coin).
some others have come up here over the years, but lord knows how
you'd search for them.

there might not have been regional/class/etc. research done on these,
just because they're so widespread.  but there probably are some
patterns there.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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