Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: USAGE: Schwa and syllabification

From:Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Date:Friday, March 12, 2004, 17:19
On Fri, Mar 12, 2004 at 11:50:13AM -0500, Trebor Jung wrote:
> Merhaba! > > My spelling textbook claims that the second syllable of 'little' has a schwa > in it; my immediate reaction was "What? Isn't it [lItl=]?". So now I'm > wondering, how do you tell the difference between schwa and syllabification? > (So for example is 'mechanic' [m@k&nIk] or [mk=&nIk]??)
There's no such thing as a syllabic 'k' - only continuous sounds can be syllabic, which rules out stops. You have to have some sort of sonorant between the m and the k. Since m is itself a sonorant, you can extend it; then you get [m='k&nIk], which sounds like "mmm-kanik". But there's no way to extend the k into a syllable. A genuine [@l] sounds different from [l=], but is a bit harder to pronounce IME. The word "little" is phonemically /'lIt@l/, but the pair (schwa + sonorant) usually gets reduced to a syllabic sonorant in English, because it's easier to say. When you pronounce [@l] at anything close to normal speed, your mouth gets into position for the l early on, while you've theoretically just begun pronouncing the schwa. At full speed they collapse into a simultaneous articulation, and you get [l=]. -Mark


Joe <joe@...>
Chris Palmer <chris@...>