Vowel Epenthesis in Loanword Integration: A Study of English Consonant Cluster at Onset


  •  Muhammad Asad Habib    
  •  Arshad Ali Khan    

Abstract

This study examines the process of vowel epenthesis used by the Punjabi speakers to integrate the English consonant cluster at onset position of the syllable. English and Punjabi are two different phonological system where English allows consonant cluster and complex consonants at onset while Punjabi only allows complex consonants. Hence for the integration of syllables with consonant cluster, Punjabi speakers have to insert a vowel to make the consonant configuration according to Punjabi phonotactics. The data for this study are collected from recordings of focus group discussions, interviews and video clips. The data are analyzed by using CV phonology and Distinct Feature theory. The results suggest that Punjabi speakers insert vowels to modify the English consonant clusters according to Punjabi phonological environment. Thus, they add another vowel node and resyllabify the consonant clusters. The mid central /ə/ vowel is the default epenthetic vowel while in some cases /e/ is also used before the consonant clusters.



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