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Schwa insertion

The insertion of schwa facilitates the realization of a heterorganic tautosyllabic consonant sequence. It is an optional process in Frisian, that is, schwa may but need not be inserted. A consonant sequence is likely to be more difficult to realize than a single consonant, but a speaker may not bother about that. Though schwa insertion results in a decrease of heterorganic tautosyllabic consonant sequences in a word, at the same time it leads to an increase in the number of syllables to be realized. So, what is gained by diminishing the articulatory effort more or less gets lost by extending the number of segments to be realized. Furthermore, insertion involves resyllabification. It thus demands quite a high price, which may well be another reason for its optionality. Schwa insertion is exemplified in (1):

Example 1

Examples of schwa insertion
kalm ~ kal [ə] m calm, quiet
term ~ ter [ə] m intestine; term
wylch ~ wyl [ə] ch willow
skelk ~ skel [ə] k apron
skulp ~ skul [ə] p shell

Schwa insertion ‒ the counterpart of schwa deletion ‒ is the topic of this section.


Follow the corresponding links for more details on schwa insertion: