Consonant Epenthesis

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The Dutch city of Delft is pronounced /DEL-lift/ by its inhabitants.

Georgian often breaks up its consonant clusters with schwas.

The three short syllables in reliquiās do not fit into dactylic hexameter because of the dactyl's limit of two short syllables, so the first syllable is lengthened by adding another l.

However, this pronunciation was often not written with double ll, and may have been the normal way of pronouncing a word starting in rel- rather than a poetic modification.

While epenthesis most often occurs between two vowels or two consonants, it can also occur between a vowel and a consonant, or at the ends of words.

For example, the Japanese prefix ma- a-t-il ('has he? Here there is no epenthesis from a historical perspective, since the a-t is derived from Latin habet (he has), and the t is therefore the original third person verb inflection.

Other examples exist in Modern Persian in which former word-initial consonant clusters (which were still extant in Middle Persian) are regularly broken up: Middle Persian brādar Modern Persian (Iran) sotūn "column"; modern borrowings are also affected.

In the Western Romance languages, a prothetic vowel was inserted at the beginning of any word that began with /s/ and another consonant: Latin spatha "sword" modern épée.

That may well produce impermissible final clusters.

In some cases, the problem was resolved by allowing a resonant to become syllabic or inserting a vowel in the middle of a cluster: Proto-Germanic akraz "field, acre" (French montre "watch" (clock)).


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