Evidence for Schwa + r in phonology

Dfcoye at AOL.COM Dfcoye at AOL.COM
Tue Feb 8 22:18:56 UTC 2000

The question seems to be coming down to this:  should the broad phonetic
notation reflect the phonetic realization as it is most commonly heard in the
US (and I would argue yes, so words like bird, word, her, mother, urn, should
all have a monophthongal notation, a hooked schwa, not schwa plus /r/);  or
should there be some kind of archephoneme (schwa plus r) that would include
several dialects under its umbrella.   Obviously we do this with vowels like
the vowel in 'go' where phonetically the vowel may be a diphthong or
monophthong, and the diphthong may have great variation.  And in fact this is
true for many vowels.   But it would seem to me that writing the 'bird' vowel
to indicate it's a diphthong (schwa plus r) when the vast majority of
Americans use a monophthong is deceiving and confusing.    DARE uses the
monophthongal hooked schwa, and we all should follow suit.

Dale Coye
The College of NJ

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