University News SpecGram Vol CLXXXVIII, No 2 Contents Schwa-Nursery Rhymes for Parental Linguists #1—Old Mʌðɚ Hʌbbɚd

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With Guest Editors Ross and Rachel

As we worship the gods of the schwas
We dance in a circle round fires;
We bring central vowel gifts,
Whose sacrifice lifts
Our chant (‘[ə], [ə], [ə]!’) to the stars.
—Carly C. Cairns

A versatile grapheme is ⟨E⟩
Flip ⟨E⟩ round and it means “There must be.”
Little ⟨e⟩’s heard in “bait”, see
But rotate ⟨e⟩ one-eighty,
And it’s stress-free and placed centrally.
—Emily Davis

The best monophthongand by far—
Is not [i], [y], [e], [ɔ], [ɪ] or [a:]
But the one’s like a soft ‘uh’
(As in ‘butter’, ‘crofter’)
It’s an upside-down ‘e’and called schwa.
—Bruce B. Brussels

There once was a mid-central vowel,
As calm and as wise as an owl,
It never was stressed,
(By “schwa” ’twas addressed)
That peaceful and centered mid-vowel!
—Clara Hu

Roses are red
Rosa’s are chic
Contrast is lost
When the vowels are weak
—Rhee Doocy

Unstressed vowels your words will not ornament,
When placed by the side of a sonorant.
Your schwas, I must say,
Will vanish away
Like a fish gobbled up by a cormorant.
—Pete Bleackley

If you want a love life full of zest
Then enhance it with this schwa stress test.
Don’t talk about yearnings
Or buy her some earrings;
Just say ‘Darling, I schwa you best!’
—Dwayne D. Denver

An inspired freshman linguist cried, “Aaaah!
This upside-down ‘e’ is called schwa.
But why just this name?
The rest should be same:
E.g. schwiii, schwuuu, schwaaaiii, et ceterah.”
—Alex A. Antwerp

One two three, one two three
Subscripted h’s in
PIE certainly
Do have their faults

Though they kicked out the schwa
There’s lots of room for more
Vowels at this waltz
—Larry Ng

University News
Schwa-Nursery Rhymes for Parental Linguists #1—Old Mʌðɚ Hʌbbɚd
SpecGram Vol CLXXXVIII, No 2 Contents