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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.
For example, , and many speakers insert schwa between the /l/ and /t/ of realtor.
Epenthesis is sometimes used for humorous or childlike effect.
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.
Regular or semiregular epenthesis commonly occurs in languages which use affixes. Vocalic epenthesis typically occurs when words are borrowed from a language that has consonant clusters or syllable codas that are not permitted in the borrowing language, though this is not always the cause.
Languages use various vowels for this purpose, though schwa is quite common when it is available.In Old English, this was ane in all positions, so a diachronic analysis would see the original n disappearing except where a following vowel required its retention: an A limited number of words in Japanese use epenthetic consonants to separate vowels, example of this is the word harusame (春雨, spring rain) which is a compound of haru and ame in which an /s/ is added to separate the final /u/ of haru and the initial /a/ of ame.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.For example, Pohjanmaa "Ostrobothnia" → Pohojammaa, ryhmä → ryhymä, and Savo vanha → vanaha. Use of the term epenthesis implies an input-output mapping relationship in which the output contains more segmental material than the input.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.However, in a theoretical framework lacking derivations, such as optimality theory, it is possible to refer only to surface-true epenthesis.In what follows only apparent cases of surface-true epenthesis will be discussed; this is partially for practical reasons—the burden of proof is higher for cases of “covert” epenthesis—and partially because optimality theory provides a more restrictive prediction about the contexts in which epenthesis can occur, and which segments can epenthesize.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".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.