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Epenthesis in Scottish Gaelic primarily refers to vocalic epenthesis (also known as Svarabhakti), which is generally understood as the insertion of a vowel within a consonantal sequence.

Description of the phenomenon

Epenthetic vowels generally occur "between non-homorganic sonorants and obstruents, following a short, stressed vowel." (Bosch 1997: 1). The obstruent cannot be a voiceless aspirated stop.

Some examples are provided below (all taken from Bosch 1997); the epenthetic vowels are underlined:

  • arm, [aram], "army"
  • sealbh, [ʃaɫav], "property"
  • sgarbh, [skarav], "cormorant"
  • Alba, [aɫapə], "Scotland"
  • urchair, [uruxirᴶ], "a shot'"
  • dorcha, [dɔrɔxɔ], "dark"
  • [merᴶekᴶ] "rust"

Vowel Harmony


See Also

External Links

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  • Borgstrøm C, Hj. (1937). The Dialect of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, Norsk Tidsskrift for Sprogvidenskap 7, 71-242.
  • Borgstrøm C, Hj. (1940). The Dialects of the Outer Hebrides, NTS suppl. bind 1 Oslo: Aschehoug & Co.
  • Bosch, Anna (1995). A gestural analysis of epenthesis in Scottish Gaelic. Ms., University of Kentucky.
  • Bosch, Anna (2003). Borgstrøm's Dialect of Barra in the Outer Hebrides: The Uses and Misuses of Description in Theory, Scottish Gaelic Studies 21, 221-239.
  • Bosch, Anna & De Jong, Kenneth (1997). The Prosody of Barra Gaelic Epenthetic Vowels, Studies in the Linguistic Sciences 27, 1-16.
  • Clements, G.N. (1986). Syllabification and epenthesis in the Barra dialect of Gaelic. In K. Bogers, H. van der Hulst & M. Mous (eds.), The Phonological Representation of Suprasegmentals: Studies on African Languages Offered to John M. Steward on His 60th Birthday, 317-336. Dordrecht: Foris.
  • Halle, Morris (1995). Feature Geometry and Feature Spreading, Linguistic Inquiry 26, 1-46.
  • Ní Chiosáin, M. (1994). Barra Gaelic Vowel Copy and (Non)-Constituent Spreading, Proceedings of WCCFL XIII, 3-13.