In considering words with
-er ending like "quandary" /ˈkwɑːn.dəɹɪ/, it seems like to me there is no difference between that IPA /ˈkwɑːn.dəɹɪ/ and /ˈkwɑːn.d.ɹɪ/, or "quand-ree". The [r] is like "rrrr" straight from the [d], as in "drrr".
There is a difference between those and "quandry", like "foundry", where the
r blend together. But I don't know if there is a difference between /ˈkwɑːn.dəɹɪ/ and /ˈkwɑːn.d.ɹɪ/ ("quand-ree"). That [ə] seems like it is purely an orthography thing, which is spilling over into the IPA structure. But it is a silent a/u/e in the different words it appears in in English IMO, like "hurry" or "worry", those are basically "hrry" and "wrry". A word like "very" you actually do have an extra vowel between the
r and the other letter, /ˈvɛɹi/ with "ai-rr" in there, not just a straight "rrrr".
It seems like the [ə] is added in the IPA purely because of the rules for syllabification in English perhaps (which I don't know much about), because if [h], [r], and [y] aren't vowels, then "hrry" can't be a grammatically correct word. But phonologically speaking, to me there is not actually an [ə] in between the [d] and [r] in "quandary".
But there also seems to be a few subtle variations in the way you could pronounce "quandary".
- "quan-dery", with the d separated from the first syllable.
- "quand-ery", with the d as part of the first syllable.
In (1), it seems clear there is no [ə] between the [d] and [r], but at the same time it is not a strait "drrr" blend. Instead there is a shift between the [d] and [r].
In (2), it seems it could go either way. You are essentially starting a fresh word by saying "errr". The question is if it is "errr" or "rrr". If I forcefully pronounce just "rrr", it starts of smooth. If I pronounce the more natural "errr", then it starts of with a "pop". The "pop" it seems is the reason for the [ə].
But instead of the [ə] you could do some sort of thing that is intermediate between a blend and a glottal stop, which I don't know how to properly do with IPA. But maybe it would be like "'rrr", instead of "ʔrrr" or "ərrr". So the scale of pausing between the [d] and [r] would be
drrr -> d'rrr -> dʔrrr, the "dʔrrr" being something that isn't really related to the "quandary" word. So then it would be /ˈkwɑːn.d'ɹɪ/.
So the question is if that [ə] in fact doesn't exist in the pronunciation, and it is instead carried over from the spelling/orthography of English words. And instead it is just some sort of syllabification of the [r], as well as a micro separation between the [d] and [r]. It seems that instead of "'rrr", you could do just the same writing it /ɹ̩/, or perhaps /'ɹ̩/ to capture both the "start r with a pop" and the syllabification. So we end up with /ˈkwɑːn.d'ɹ̩ɪ/.
Wondering if this is true, or what I am missing.
If the [ə] was "really" there, then I would pronounce it "quand-uh-rrrr-ee", like "quanduhrry", because the pronunciation of the [ə] is different from a straight "rrr" sound, or even from the pop at the beginning of the "errr" sound. It would be more like "uhrrrr".
Another word that seems to have this feature is
significant. In speech you might pronounce it "sgnificant", or even "sgnificnt", or yet! "sgnifknt", where there is no vowel really between the [s] and [g], it's more like /sg/. Here since they can't blend (doesn't seem possible), you don't even need the pop symbol, as in /s'g/.
The word "elementary" doesn't even have this feature, it is more like "foundry", as in "elementry", but you can pronounce it if you want as "element'rry".