Can someone help me to translate this morphophonemic rule?

V ⇒ ∅ / C ___ + V

Vowels become null in the environment ...

What is "...", i.e., what is the environment translated into English?

  • 1
    A vowel deletes if it is simultaneously preceded by a consonant, and followed by a heteromorphemic vowel.
    – user6726
    Dec 21, 2016 at 15:25
  • The rule into English. The second part is what I can't translate after '/' or 'in the environment'.
    – Pearl
    Dec 21, 2016 at 15:27
  • What does "+" mean?
    – Pearl
    Dec 21, 2016 at 15:34
  • V = vowel ⇒ = become ∅ = null / = in the environment C = consonant __ = before + = ?? V = vowel Does anyone know what does '+' stand for?
    – Pearl
    Dec 21, 2016 at 15:38
  • @Pearl Morpheme boundary. + V means there is a vowel in another morpheme which succeeds the morpheme were the deleted vowel occurs. Dec 21, 2016 at 15:46

1 Answer 1


Your first part is correct, but I'm going to go through the whole translation for completeness.

V ⇒ ∅ / C ___ + V

Breaking this down into parts:


Standard shorthand for "any vowel", or sometimes "any short vowel".


"Null", that is, the sound disappears entirely.


"When" or "in the following environment".

C ___ + V

This is the environment in which the change happens:


Standard shorthand for "any consonant".


This is where the sound being modified appears.


This is the rarest symbol in this rule. + indicates a boundary between two morphemes, such as a stem and a suffix.


Another vowel.

So all together, the translation would be:

A vowel becomes null when it's preceded by a consonant, and followed by a morpheme break, and then a vowel.

  • In what way is + "rarest"? Compared to what? (Specifically, why is Ø not rarer?)
    – user6726
    Dec 21, 2016 at 22:32
  • @user6726 Just in the informal sense that I've seen Ø more often than + in these rules. I'm guessing it was the one OP was having difficulty with, since they got the first part on their own.
    – Draconis
    Dec 21, 2016 at 22:35

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