LINGUIST List 2.720

Sun 27 Oct 1991

Disc: R-Linking

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  1. "John J. McCarthy", R-Linking
  2. , 2.707 R-Linking
  3. Gorka Elordieta, Re: 2.707 R-Linking
  4. Nancy L. Dray, r-linking/"the issue-r-is"
  5. Geoffrey Russom, Re: 2.707 R-Linking

Message 1: R-Linking

Date: Fri, 25 Oct 91 15:20 EST
From: "John J. McCarthy" <MCCARTHYcs.umass.EDU>
Subject: R-Linking
The forthcoming BLS 17 Proceedings contains a paper by me on
R-linking and dropping in Eastern Massachusetts. It discusses a number
of facts, particularly involving function words, that have not been
considered previously. For example, there is a remarkable contrast between
	He shoulda eaten already.
	He's gonna[r] even if you're not ready.
I argue that both deletion and insertion are required, that the question of
rule "inversion" misconceives the problem, and that hiatus is not implicated
in the contemporary situation.
John McCarthy
Replies should be addressed to me directly, since I do not read this
bulletin board usually.
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Message 2: 2.707 R-Linking

Date: Fri, 25 Oct 91 21:34:14 EDT
From: <>
Subject: 2.707 R-Linking
David Stampe makes a fundamental error in reasoning in his recent
posting, arguing that the linking /r/ is "underlying". (I put
'underlying' in quotes because, as a good declarative phonologist,
I reject that notion as a snare and a delusion, but for the sake
of the argument, I will pretend I know what is meant by this term.)
The error lies in assuming that, since r-insertion would be
phonetically unnatural, it cannot be involved in a process which
is characterized by a great degree of automaticity. But that's
circular, since the correlation between phonetic naturalness and
automacity was supposed to be a discovery, not a postulate, of the
school of natural phonology. The linking r, as well as numerous
other examples (such as the /n/ that shows up between a word-final
/t/ and a following word-initial /y/ (and perhaps elsewhere) in
Korean), are simply counterexamples to this.
And I think that, since in many other cases the claims of natural
phonology seem to be brilliantly vindicated, the appropriate
response to such counterexamples is not turn a factual theory
into an a priori formal system, but to see what makes these
counterexamples different and to modify the theory to account
for them.
Moreover, it would not be unreasonable to expect that David should
note somewhere in passing that this critique of natural phonology
has been made before and has never received an adequate response.
(Not having read the Donegan paper referred to by David yet, I
confine my remarks to the Stampe posting on LINGUIST only!)
I almost forgot to add that such spellings as Eeyore for (H)ee(h)aw
and such hypercorrect pronunciations as idear for idea have no
bearing on the question of whether the linking r is "underlying"
or not. One might as well say that when people started spelling
delight with a 'gh', that this proved that /ae/ is underlyingly
/ix/ in English. Or that when I use /x/ for /h/ in speaking Dutch
(as sometimes happens, especially in words with both these sounds
in close proximity like 'geheten') that that shows that /x/ us
the "underlying" form for /h/ in my English.
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Message 3: Re: 2.707 R-Linking

Date: Fri, 25 Oct 91 20:23:12 PDT
From: Gorka Elordieta <>
Subject: Re: 2.707 R-Linking
To David Stampe: could we possibly generalize the rule which deletes the
underlying /r/ (or blocks the insertion of it) so as to say that an /r/ will
never appear before a stressed vowel? (e.g. 'I saw Italy' would have the
verb ending in a schwa, whereas 'I saw it' or 'I saw a car' would have a
surfacing /r/? I'm sorry but I'm not a native speaker of English, nor do I
know somebody who speaks those dialects with the so-called 'r-linking'
phenomenon. Thank you.
Gorka Elordieta
USC, Los Angeles
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Message 4: r-linking/"the issue-r-is"

Date: Sat, 26 Oct 91 21:19:40 CDT
From: Nancy L. Dray <>
Subject: r-linking/"the issue-r-is"
re linking "r" after "u" (cf. 2.681, 2.692, 2.707):
During the Thomas/Hill hearings, one of the senators* said "the
issue-r-is". This struck me at the time as an unusual instance
of r-linking, and now, reading LINGUIST, I see that others, too,
would find it somewhat unexpected. My mother, who grew up in
the Bronx, has some vestiges of r-linking, but not after "u"; this
fits with Ellen Prince's observation about her own New York City
By the way, has anyone out there who's interested in this checked
the Linguistic Atlas? I believe that one of the questionnaire items
is "law and order," and field workers have noted down other data on
the distribution of r-linking as well.
Now a tangent: Listening to the Senate committee during the
Thomas hearings, and also to George Bush, I have been struck
by the use of "ye" (I mean something like a schwa for the vowel
--I can't write phonetics in e-mail) for "you", in contexts where
I would really have "you" or at least something quite a bit closer to
it. Is this an attempt to sound "folksy," or are (at least some of)
these individuals just speaking their native dialects?
*(I'm not sure which senator said this, but I know which question
it occurred in and could find out who asked that question, if anyone
wants to know; it may have been Strom Thurmond.)
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Message 5: Re: 2.707 R-Linking

Date: Sun, 27 Oct 91 08:55:29 EST
From: Geoffrey Russom <>
Subject: Re: 2.707 R-Linking
The claim attacked by stemberger wasn't a claim about proper phonetic
transcription of English high tense vowels. What I claimed was that
English [u:] or [uw] develops something like a w-glide to prevent hiatus
and [i:] or [iy] develops something like a y-glide. I suggested that you
don't get r-linking after the high tense vowels because they are
already provided for in this way.
Question: is there anything against using [uw] and [iy] for representation
of underlying forms?
Question: what does a phonetician do with words like "appreciate" and
"cooing" or phrases like "too easy" and "tree apples"? Do these have hiatus?
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