metathesis defined? / hooked schwa status

Aaron E. Drews aaron at LING.ED.AC.UK
Mon Feb 7 12:17:06 UTC 2000

On Fri, 4 Feb 2000 Dfcoye at AOL.COM wrote:

}Responding to Ron Butters and Aaron...
} << 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'. >>
}  >>
}The hooked schwa for me, and I think for most rhotic Americans, is a
}monophthong everywhere.

Positing 'er' as two sounds somewhere *in the phonology*, i.e. between the
lexical form/input/underlying structure (pick a theory) and the surface

}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.

Scotland, but that doesn't help much with American phonology (in this
instance).  But NYC and Scotland show that in some biggish varieties of
English, shcwa+r are two distinct sounds on the surface, implying or
suggesting that in, say, the rest of rhotic American, there is a further
step that merges schwa and r.


Aaron E. Drews                               The University of Edinburgh
aaron at                  Departments of English Language and       Theoretical & Applied  Linguistics


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