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:
> 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