All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

EPENTHESIS [Stress: ‘e-PEN-the-sis’]. The insertion of a sound or letter into a WORD or PHRASE. An epenthetic vowel can be added to break up a consonant cluster, as in Hiberno-Irish ‘fillim’ for film. Such a vowel often has the value of schwa. An epenthetic consonant can be added through being near another: /p/ close in articulation to both /m/ and /t/, as with empty (Old English ǣmtiġ); /b/ close in articulation to /m/, as with b in nimble (Middle English nemel). In RP, epenthetic /r/ is typically added between words that end and begin with certain vowels: Shah/r of Persia. Epenthetic vowels are common in non-native forms of English, to handle consonant clusters not found in the speaker's first language, as in ‘sakool’ for school among Punjabi speakers of English and ‘iskool’ among Kashmiris. See B, D, INTRUSIVE R, L, LINKING R, N, P, PARTICIPLE, SOMERSET, SPEECH, SYLLABLE, T.

views updated

epenthesis (philol.) insertion of a sound between two others. XVII. — late L. — Gr. epénthesis, f. epenthe-, stem of epentithénai insert, f. EPI- + en IN + tithénai place.
So epenthetic XIX.