metathesis defined? / hooked schwa status
hstahlke at GW.BSU.EDU
Sat Feb 5 02:49:29 UTC 2000
rhotic schewa vs. schewa + r is a nice case of indeterminacy. It makes good sense to treat the sequence as VC for comparative purposes, for example, when talking about historical loss of /r/ in many dialects. It also makes perfect phonological sense to treat it as a single vowel when describing a rhotic dialect by itself. It's the old one unit vs. two problem, like tS vs. c-wedge.
Ball State University
<<< Dfcoye at AOL.COM 2/ 4 5:10p >>>
Responding to Ron Butters and Aaron...
<< Strictly speaking, I suppose that Coye is technically right about the
relationship between syllabic [r] and [r] + schwa, even in words such as
"bird", at least in "surface" structure. It is doubtless slightly stretching
the term METATHESIS to cover this situation. However, it is such a small
reach that it I am comfortable with it--as are all the standard textbooks on
the history of English that I am familiar with--indeed they often give "bird"
as a garden-variety example of metathesis.
I can't exactly remember the details from the past but I think the brid-bird
was something like /brId/ /bIrd/- that is, historically, hooked schwa
(syllabic /r/) was not involved so I have no trouble with calling that
metathesis. But isn't it the case that this performance-preformance change
is recent? So if the word was already hooked schwa in the first syllable,
then /pr at -/ wouldn't be metathesis...
In a message dated 2/3/2000 8:07:26 AM, aaron at LING.ED.AC.UK writes:
<< On Wed, 2 Feb 2000 Dfcoye at AOL.COM wrote:
}Also metathesis does not really apply when
}we're dealing with the hooked schwa in a word like 'performance' -
}'preformance' in rhotic speech-- the first vowel is not schwa plus /r/.
Isn't it? Phonetically, it is clearly one sound, hence hooked schwa or
alternatively syllabic r. But is the second syllable of 'performance'
also just one sound phonetically, a rhoticized O? At least it is for me,
and I suspect for many other rhotic north Americans. Yet, there would be
no argument in transcribing the sequence as [Or] two sounds- or maybe even
O plus hooked schwa. So why couldn't the first syllable be schwa+r and
coalesce on the surface. Or would you argue that hooked schwa is a single
sound throughout the whole of the phonology? Positing 'er' as two sounds
somewhere certainly allows for the metathesis in the 'per/pre' prefixes,
as well as in 'modren' and 'southren'. >>
"or" is either /or/ or as you say, /o/ plus hooked schwa- in other words a
diphthong for me (though I may just be locked into an old habit of thinking
that way about it). The idea of a "rhoticized o" is a new one for me. The
hooked schwa for me, and I think for most rhotic Americans, is a monophthong
everywhere. In "modern", in "mother", in "her". In the NYC region
including North Jersey, these words are sometimes schwa plus /r/ or schwa
plus hooked schwa, I'm not aware of anywhere else that has this... maybe
someone else could tell us.
The College of NJ
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