LINGUIST List 11.470

Sun Mar 5 2000

Disc: New: Underlying Shwas?

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. Jorge Guitart, Underlying shwas?

Message 1: Underlying shwas?

Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2000 14:34:21 -0500 (EST)
From: Jorge Guitart <>
Subject: Underlying shwas?

As part of his query about shwas in American English Jorge Guitart wrote

< Are there underlying shwas?

On Sun, 5 Mar 2000, Larry <> wrote to Jorge

<I suspect so. What about words like "cactus", "abacus", "syllabus",
"phosphorous" (N), and "opus"?

Jorge Guitart responds

Gedanken Experiment

If an improbable product were to be invented that uses
cactus meat as its base and it is called cactusia, how would the word
be pronunced? (It would not have a shwa in the second vowel of the
morpheme cactus-.) 

What about the following entries in The Dictionary of Mental

1. Abacusia: Unwarranted reliance on an abacus for calculation
2. Abacusic: Individual suffering from abacusia
3. Syllabusia: The desire to follow the course's syllabus too closely 
4. Syllabusic: Individual suffering from syllabusia
5. Phosporousia: Obsession with the chemical element phosporous
6. Phosphorousic: see 2 and 4
7. Opusia: Malady striking the workaholic musician
8. Opusic: See 3, 4, and 6.

What is the better candidate for the UR of X where X is the morpheme
common to each alternant--shwa or something else?

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