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Re: more English orthography

From:Marcus Smith <smithma@...>
Date:Wednesday, May 17, 2000, 7:20
Tom Wier wrote:

>> That basic point still stands, that I don't see how we could find an >> underlying >> pronunciation for the schwa in "comma." It may be best to consider it a >> phoneme. I just don't know how to test that. > >In such a situation, I'd just do another "wug" test as you did before: come >up with a derivational morpheme, say, <t-ic> to get <commatic>*. Now, >how would most people pronounce it? My native intuition says [k_h@m&rIk], >where [r] is a voiced tap.
I agree with that intuition. Is the judgement because the underlying vowel is [&]? Or is it based on an analogy with words like "traumatic" [tr\@m&rIk]? I couldn't say, but it is interesting that we both have it. My point about wug tests is that I don't find them convincing. A pronunciation will always be given, even if there can be no correct answer. It seems to me that this cannot be a reliable test of the underlying pronunciation. Marcus