French

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Pronunciation

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Etymology 1

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From the -t of Latin -et, -it, which survived in Old French in some verb forms, now still spelt with -t (such as il fait, dort etc.). In Middle French, when final /t/ was no longer pronounced outside of liaison, the ending was reinstated analogically in the inversion forms of all verbs, even those in which -t had already been lost in Old French (such as those from Latin -at > Old French -e).

Note, however, that verbs spelled with final -t, -d can make liaison generally before a vowel, while the others do so in inversion only.

Interfix

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-t-

  1. an interfix, liaison or linking consonant used in inversion constructions for third-person singular verbs with orthographic forms ending in a letter other than -t or -d
    Parle-t-on?Are we talking?
    Me regarde-t-il ?Is he looking at me?
    Y a-t-il un endroit?Is there a place?
    Quelles baleines Claire a-t-elle vues?
    Which whales did Claire see?
    • 1965 November, Carlo François, “Poésie d’André Marissel [André Marissel’s Poetry]”, in The French Review, volume 39, number 2, American Association of Teachers of French, →JSTOR, pages 265–274:
      Le jardinier-poète sait parfois qu’il est fécond et que son Arbre est fertile. Ne vainc-t-il pas la mort chaque fois qu’il plante un arbre-poème?
      The gardener-poet sometimes knows that he is fertile and his Tree is fruitful. Does he not conquer death every time he plants a tree-poem?

Etymology 2

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A 'euphonic' consonant added before certain vowel-initial suffixes (such as the verb-forming suffix -er) in order to prevent a hiatus when deriving new words from a base that ends in a vowel. It might be influenced by the use of /t/ as a liaison consonant. Although avoided in this context, hiatus is phonologically possible; it occurs in words that were not derived within French by suffixation (e.g. créer, borrowed from Latin creō) and some suffixed words such as trouer, embouer show hiatus (or a realization of the first vowel as a semivowel).

When the base ends in a nasal vowel, the inserted consonant sound is sometimes /n/ instead, with denasalization of the preceding vowel; there are many examples from bases ending in -on /ɔ̃/ (compare also ‎à fond + ‎-er → ‎afonner), some from bases ending in -an /ɑ̃/ (‎cancan + ‎-er → ‎cancaner, ‎en- + ‎ruban + ‎-er → ‎enrubanner, ‎en- + ‎turban + ‎-er → ‎enturbanner) or -en /ɛ̃/ (‎moyen + ‎-er → ‎moyenner). However, /t/ can also be used after bases ending in a nasal vowel; often ones spelled with final -nt (as in ‎dé- + ‎gant + ‎-er → ‎déganter), but sometimes after bases spelled with final -n (as in ‎écran (screen) + ‎-t- + ‎-er → ‎écranter (to screen).

Sometimes, as the result of analogy, another unetymological consonant is inserted before a vowel-initial suffix upon derivation (not necessarily after a vowel); e.g. /d/ after /ɑ̃/ in ‎faisan + ‎-d- + ‎ → ‎faisandé, or after /aʁ/ (due to the influence of words ending in -ard) in ‎cauchemar + ‎-d- + ‎-er → ‎cauchemarder, ‎caviar + ‎-d- + ‎-er → ‎caviarder, ‎bazar + ‎-d- + ‎er → ‎bazarder.

Interfix

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-t-

  1. added between vowels to prevent certain sequences of vowels
    Coordinate term: -l-
    biffeton, dépiauter, gruter, maintée
Derived terms
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German

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Etymology

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Euphonic linking sound.

Pronunciation

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Interfix

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-t-

  1. Used to separate two adjacent sonorants, mostly when -en is followed by -lich.
    Wesen + -t- + -lichwesentlich
    eigen + -t- + -licheigentlich

Mohawk

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Interfix

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-t-

  1. joiner used with some nouns in noun incorporation

Portuguese

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Interfix

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-t-

  1. used to link two adjacent vowels in some words