Adaptation of the English er [ǝ] to Czech: chance or regularity?



Year of publication 2018
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The paper discusses whether the way the English sequence er realized as [?] is phonologically adapted to Czech is a matter of chance, as it appears to be at first sight, or whether there is some regularity behind it. A database of 310 English loanwords evidences that the adaptation may result in a syllabic trill as well as a sequence of the vowel [?] plus a non-syllabic trill (a vocalized trill). A statistical analysis of the distri-bution of the two options shows several significant correlations with phonological and extra-phonological factors. First of all, the sequence is virtually always adapted as a vocalized trill after vowels, [j] or [l], which is in fact expected phonotactically. It is also nearly always adapted as a syllabic trill after syllables containing a non-short vowel. This result seems to be motivated by the preference for certain types of patterning of syllables within Czech words. The most salient extra-phonological factors influencing the adaption of the sequence are the word frequency and the morphological status of the sequence er in English. The adaptation is thus at least partly a non-random pheno¬me¬non, although its results cannot be predicted in a quite large body of words.
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