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Schwa insertions in word-final sequences
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Schwa insertion in coda sequences is more common than in onset sequences. It is the subject of this topic.

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Schwa insertion affects coda sequences of the form liquid plus nasal/obstruent, see the examples in (1):

Example 1

Examples of schwa insertion in coda sequences of liquid plus nasal/obstruent
a. with /l/
skalm /skɔlm/ link [skɔlm] , [skɔləm]
wylp /vilp/ curlew [vilp] , [viləp]
skulp /skølp/ shell [skølp] , [skøləp]
wylch /vilɣ/ willow [vilx] , [viləx]
skelk /skɛlk/ apron [skɛlk] , [skɛlək]
b. with /r/
term /tɛrm/ intestine; term [tɛrm] , [tɛrəm]
doarp /dwarp/ village [dwarp] , [dwarəp]
ark /ark/ tools [ark] , [arək]
smoarch /smwarɣ/ dirty [smwarx] , [smwarəx]

The assertion that schwa insertion affects coda sequences of the form liquid plus nasal/obstruent is in need of modification. The final consonants of the words in (1) differ as to their place of articulation. Things, however, become different if the liquid and the nasal/obstruent have the same place of articulation, for in that case schwa insertion yields an ill-formed outcome. This is exemplified in (2):

Example 2

Examples of the ill-formedness of schwa insertion in a homorganic sequence of liquid plus nasal/obstruent
a. with /l/
bult /bølt/ heap, pile [bølt] , [*bølət]
wyld /vild/ wild [vilt] , [*vilət]
hals /hɔlz/ neck; throat [hɔls] , [*hɔləs]
b. with /r/
sport /spɔrt/ sport [spɔrt] , [*spɔrət]
modern /mo:dɛrn/ modern [mo:dɛrn] , [*modɛrən]
mars /mars/ march [mars] , [*marəs]

The same holds for insertion in a homorganic sequence of nasal plus obstruent (plosive), see (3):

Example 3

Examples of the ill-formedness of schwa insertion in a homorganic cluster of nasal plus obstruent (plosive)
stomp /stomp/ blunt [stomp] , [*stoməp]
smjunt /smjønt/ widgeon; skunk [smjønt] , [*smjønət]
fûnk /fuŋk/ spark [fuŋk] , [*fuŋək]

This, however, is not the whole story. Though they are not frequent, there are heterorganic sequences of the nasal /m/ plus an obstruent (see word-final sequences of a nasal and an obstruent). Schwa insertion is expected to be possible here, but it is not, as the examples in (4) show:

Example 4

Examples of the ill-formedness of schwa insertion in a heterorganic sequence of nasal plus obstruent
ramt /ramt/ casing, frame [ramt] , [*ramət]
himd /hɪmd/ vest, singlet [hɪmt] , [*hɪmət]
jamk /jamk/ often; possibly [jamk] , [*jamək]
tjems /tjɛmz/ sieve (for milk) [tjɛms] , [*tjɛməs]
nimf /nɪmf/ nymph [nɪmf] , [*nɪməf]

A complex segment (/s/ + plosive, plosive + /s/) in the coda cannot be split by schwa insertion for the same reason that it cannot be split in the onset. Insertion, however, yields an ill-formed outcome in any obstruent + obstruent coda sequence, as the examples in (5) illustrate:

Example 5

Examples of the ill-formedness of schwa insertion in coda sequences of obstruent and obstruent
loft /loft/ sky [loft] , [*lofət]
nacht /naxt/ night [naxt] , [*naxət]
krekt /krɛkt/ accurate, precise [krɛkt] , [*krɛkət]

This also holds for trisegmental obstruent sequences, see (6):

Example 6

Examples of the ill-formedness of schwa insertion in trisegmental obstruent sequences
tekst /tɛkst/ text [tɛkst] , [*tɛkəst] , [*tɛksət]
gewûpst /ɡəvupst/ robust, sturdy [ɡəvupst] , [*ɡəvupəst] , [*ɡəvupsət]
gewykst /ɡəvikst/ shrewed, smart [ɡəvikst] , [*ɡəvikəst] , [*ɡəviksət]

It is also nicely illustrated by sequences of liquid + obstruent + obstruent, in which schwa can only be inserted between the liquid and the left-most obstruent, as the examples in (7) illustrate:

Example 7

Examples of schwa insertion in sequences of liquid + obstruent + obstruent
ferwulft /fərvølft/ vault(ing); palate [fəvølft] , [fəvøləft] , [*fəvølfət]
korps /kɔrps/ corps [kɔrps] , [kɔrəps] , [*kɔrpəs]
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Schwa insertion is impossible in the sequence /l/ + complex segment, as the following examples show:

Example 8

Examples of the ill-formedness of schwa insertion in the sequence /l/ + complex segment
aalst /a:lst/ absinthe [a:lst] , [*a:ləst]
elts /ɛlts/ each, every [ɛlts] , [*ɛləts]

It comes as no surprise that the complex segments /-st/ and /-ts/ are not allowed to be split up by schwa. That schwa cannot be inserted between the liquid and the complex segment either, is likely to be due to the fact that /l/ and /{s/t}/ have the same place of articulation; see also the forms in (2) above.

The members of obstruent sequences must agree in voicing (see word-final sequences of two obstruents). They may be assumed then to share the specification for the feature voice. Such a linked structure has the property of integrity, i.e., it cannot be split up.

Taken together, schwa insertion in the coda is restricted to (heterorganic) sequences of a liquid and a non-coronal consonant.

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Schwa insertion in, for instance, wylch/vilɣ/willow[viləx] renders this form indistinguishable from the derived form (adjective) wilich/vil+əɣ/wilted, withered[viləx] (from the verb wyl(je)/vil/to wilt, to wither).

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Schwa insertion may give rise to unusual word-final sequences. Whereas there are hardly underived words ending in the sequence /-ə{p/k}/, the latter is quite common in words which have undergone schwa insertion, like skelk/skɛlk/apron[skɛlək], ark/ark/tools[arək], wylp/vilp/curlew[viləp], and doarp/dwarp/village[dwarəp].

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Words ending in /-{l/r}m/ quite often undergo schwa insertion. This may lead to the reanalysis of schwa as part of the underlying representation of these words (see word-final sequences of a liquid and a nasal).

There are also less systematic cases. The word folk/folk/people; folks is pronounced as both [folk] and [folək]. Schwa has become fixed if folk! is used as an interjection, meaning hallo (there)!, anybody home? (in which case it has a typical, rising intonation pattern).

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Whereas a homorganic obstruent + liquid onset sequence can be affected by schwa insertion, a homorganic liquid + obstruent coda sequence cannot, as appears from the difference between, for instance, droech/druɣ/drigh[drux], [dərux] and geld/ɡɛld/infertile, barren; unfertilised[ɡɛlt], [*ɡɛlət]. There is an onset-coda asymmetry here.

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Another onset-coda asymmetry is that schwa insertion is less common and less frequent in the onset than it is in the coda. There may be a twofold reason for this. Firstly, due to stricter conditions on their sonority profile, fewer sequence types are allowed in the onset than in the coda. Secondly, Frisian has a basic trochaic stress pattern. Now, epenthesis adds a syllable to a word. If it affects the coda of a monosyllabic word, it makes the latter comply with this trochaic pattern. If, on the other hand, it affects the onset, the prosodic integration of the newly created schwa syllable into the existing prosodic structure is much more troublesome. Besides, the result cannot possibly be a trochee. This may be taken to cause the above-mentioned difference between schwa insertion in the onset and in the coda.

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