Lisa Davidson, at Phonoloblog, reports on some preliminary results on the use of Google in tracking down epenthetic vowels. Her searches turned up misspellings such as Velasic for Vlasic (as in pickles), and Devorak for Dvořák (as in Antonín Leopold), which suggest that the misspellers responsible not only break up the initial consonant clusters in these names with something like a schwa or an ε in pronunciation, but perhaps also have a vowel there in the underlying representation as well. (Or else they're just prone to typos, but it should be possible to control for that.) This is interesting (though obviously inconclusive) stuff, from a phonological point of view.
But what my eye was especially drawn to in Davidson's examples was something of no phonological import whatsoever; it was this bright, shiny eggcorn nestled among the epentheses:
While visiting Iowa in 1893, the Czech composer Anton Devorak hears the song of a scarlet teenager and is inspired to create a new piece of music.
Further Googling reveals that this is not a particularly common eggcorn; it only gets 11 ghits, most of which seem to be deliberate puns.
Oh, and on the phonological front—never mind the non-English proper names; look at this:
- athelete: 93,300 ghits
- athalete: 8,790 ghits
- atholete: 734 ghits
- athulete: 442 ghits
- athilete: 19 ghits
Many of the athulete examples seem to be deliberate attempts to represent an epenthetic schwa sound ("uh"), while the e-grade, a-grade, and o-grade variants seem to be for the most part honest misspellings.