Of Epenthesis

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The term epenthesis may also be used to refer to the addition of segmental material to satisfy a morphological template, or minimal word length requirement.Theoretically, epenthesis may occur as the result of a phonological, morphological, or phonetic rule.Languages use various vowels for this purpose, though schwa is quite common when it is available.

The term epenthesis may also be used to refer to the addition of segmental material to satisfy a morphological template, or minimal word length requirement.Theoretically, epenthesis may occur as the result of a phonological, morphological, or phonetic rule.Languages use various vowels for this purpose, though schwa is quite common when it is available.

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Within generative theory, epenthesis is “triggered” or “conditioned” by the presence of specific environments.

Such environments may consist of sequences that are disallowed or dispreferred within the language (*XY), and that are prevented from surfacing by the operation of epenthesis (/XY/ surfaces as [XBY]).

An example in an English song is "The Umbrella Man", where the meter requires "umbrella" to be pronounced with four syllables, um-buh-rel-la, so that "any umbrellas" has the meter ány úmberéllas.

Epenthesis often breaks up a consonant cluster or vowel sequence that is not permitted by the phonotactics of a language.

In standard Finnish, these are slightly intensified when preceding a consonant in a medial cluster, e.g. Some dialects, like Savo and Ostrobothnian, employ epenthesis instead, using the preceding vowel in clusters of type -l C- and -h C-, and in Savo, -nh-. (An exception is that in Pohjanmaa, -lj- and -rj- become -li- and -ri-, respectively, e.g.

For example, Pohjanmaa "Ostrobothnia" → Pohojammaa, ryhmä → ryhymä, and Savo vanha → vanaha. Within this framework epenthesis can occur in any environment and involve any segment.Furthermore, a rule of epenthesis may be ordered with respect to other rules in any sequence whatsoever.Agreement does not always hold regarding whether a given set of surface forms results from a process of epenthesis or from a process of deletion in complementary environments (/XBZ/ surfaces as [XZ]).Competing claims also are made about whether the set of universally possible epenthetic segments is restricted in any way; whether those restrictions might derive from historical, perceptual, articulatory, or grammatical forces; and which segments comprise the (potentially) restricted set.Epenthesis is sometimes used for humorous or childlike effect.For example, the cartoon character Yogi Bear says "pic-a-nic basket" for "picnic basket." Another example is to be found in the chants of England football fans in which England is usually rendered as , or the pronunciation of "athlete" as "ath-e-lete".Since epenthetic consonants are not used regularly in modern Japanese, it is possible that this epenthetic /s/ is a hold over from Old Japanese. One example is the word baai (場合, situation), which is a combination of ba (場, place) and ai (合い, meet): in some dialects it is pronounced bawai.It is also possible that OJ /ame/, and the /s/ is not epenthetic but simply retained archaic pronunciation. One hypothesis argues that Japanese /r/ developed "as a default, epenthetic consonant in the intervocalic position".THE AMERICAN HERITAGE® DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, FIFTH EDITION by the Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries.Copyright © 2016, 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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