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A vowel in 'xle'
Invisible vowel
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2014/06/10
7:35am
RobertB
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This is one definition of a vowel:

A speech sound, such as () or (), created by the relatively free passage of breath through the larynx and oral cavity, usually forming the most prominent and central sound of a syllable.

If it is just sound, not a letter necessarily, then these English words table, circle, myrtle, etc. all can be said to have the same vowel embedded though invisible before ‘le.’   No?

2014/06/10
11:17am
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RobertB, could the ‘el’ sound coming out of ‘le’ be an example of metathesis described in this thread?

2014/06/10
2:22pm
Ron Draney
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We have these “reduced” vowels in unaccented syllables, usually at the end of a word. For some reason, L is the consonant most often associated with the effect, but just because there’s a silent E in the spelling of words like kettle or middle doesn’t mean that the reduced vowel is an e with its position altered.

The same effect occurs with other final consonants as in words like written, and perhaps most revealing of all, rhythm, where there’s no second vowel at all in the spelling.

2014/06/10
2:39pm
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I think the l in table, etc., is called a syllabic consonant.

2014/06/11
5:23am
RobertB
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That seems to be the scholarly accepted term for that.  

The n, unlike the le and m (rhythm),  actually supplants the existing vowel: Manhattan, Houston. (Supplants even the consonant t preceding!)

EmmettRedd said
RobertB, could the ‘el’ sound coming out of ‘le’ be an example of metathesis described in this thread?

It seems the vowel sound is spelled out in the root word;  in modern English, it is omitted rather than transposed:

Table, Old English tabule, Latin tabula

Circle, Middle English cercle, Latin circulus

Myrtle, Middle English mirtille,  Latin myrtillus

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