Epenthesis

Definition

Epenthesis is the insertion of a segment into an existing string of sounds. Usually sounds are epenthisized when a sequence of segments violates a language’s phonotactic constraints, and is commonly found in loanwords of a language (Zsiga, 2013, p. 241)

Examples

Hul’q’umi’num’: Intrusive /h/; when a CA root is followed by a suffix beginning with a stressed vowel, an /h/ is epenthisized in between the root and suffix. This is exemplified in the following example:

  • The root /qwé-/ ‘pass through‘ + the suffix /-íləm/ ‘move toward‘ becomes /qwəhíləm/ ‘go through‘ (Suttles, 2003, p. 18-19).

Secwepemctsín:

This table given by Kamigaki-Baron (2021) demonstrate schwa epenthesis in Secwepemctsín in order to break illegal consonant clusters (p. 136).