Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Sun Aug 19 13:11:39 UTC 2001


Many varieties of Irish English have intervocalic loss but
nonprevocalic preservation (in, for example, all the words you
mention below).
The underlying reporesentations could be very different (and allow
such a generalization). If "carry" is /kaer - riy/, then /r - r/
would be the distinct environment for such loss (certainly different
from /Vr/. On the other hand, even /kae - riy/ could provide a
distinct environment, /V - r/, which would allow /kae - iy/, with
appropriate subsequent vowel adjustment, but prevent /siy - uwdiy/,
for example, for "See Rudy" since it is /siy ## ruwdiy/ not /siy -
ruwdiy/ to begin with. (I haven't worked out the /#/ boundary for
this, and certainly not tried to differentiate among the types of
/#/, e.g., inflectional versus derivational, but I think they might
have no influence.)

I believe this discussion could be extended to /l/ "ball" /bawl/ -->
/baw:/ and, in some varieties, "Philip" /fIl - lIp/ --> /fI - Ip/,
although "interaction with nonprevocalic /l/-weakening (and loss and
other rules, incluiding those of vowel adjustment) could produce
alternatives, e.g., /fIwp/.

I guess I might withdraw my implicational remark for US dialects;
perhaps there are none where intervocalic /r/-loss does not imply
nonprevocalic /r/ loss (or, as you note, vocalization), but Irish
English cerainly makes it untrue for English in general.

dInIs (who always dislikes weak syllable loss since it makes him /dIns/)

>         You grew up closer to the source than I did, but I don't think
>I've heard anyone "drop" the -/r/- in <carry> who didn't also vocalize it
>in final position, though Arnold argues that these are different. If it is
>syllabified as /kaer-iy/, the two fall together. Or could there be a
>re-etymologization of this as <care> + <y>? Is the -/r/- dropped in Larry,
>Mary, leary, berry, bury, sorry? I've often seen <carry> represented as
>"ca'y" in transcriptions of AAVE, but don't recall other examples (one
>exception: <ta'pin> for <terrapin>).
>         Rudy

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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