English syllabification and schwa-insertion: from the sound pattern of English to the notion of phase
Keywords:English syllabification and schwa-insertion, from the sound pattern of English to the notion of phase
It is a well-known fact that in English, syllabification of derived words differs according to the attaching affix, Chomsky and Halle (1968). In words such as hinder, meter, burgle the final sonorant of the roots /hindr/, /mitr/, /burgl/ is syllabic in word final position, following the rule of schwa insertion that makes a final sonorant pre ceded by a consonant syllabic. However, in related forms where these roots are fol lowed by a vowel-initial affix, such as hindrance, metric, burglar, the sonorants in ques tion are not syllabic, but are syllabified as onsets of the following syllable. Not all affixes beginning in a vowel have the same effect on syllabification. The participle forming affix -ing triggers the schwa-insertion regardless of its vowel-initial status, e.g. (hinder /hindgr/: hindrance /hindrans/, but hindering /hindgril]/, */hindril]/). Chomsky and Halle (1968) treat this property as inherent to the attaching affix; i.e. -ance in hin drance differs from -ing in hindering with respect to the triggering of the schwa-insertion rule. Using a finer-grained syntax of words, this paper derives the differences in pronunciation of the above mentioned words as following not exclusively from a diacritic on the affix, as in Chomsky and Halle (1968), but rather from the attachment position of the affix in the syntactic structure of the word.
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