Re: a small phonological question about the French 'r'.
|From:||Raymond A. Brown <raybrown@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, October 2, 1999, 7:57|
At 12:29 pm -0400 1/10/99, Don Blaheta wrote:
>Quoth Christophe Grandsire:
>> For those one the list who are very good at phonology, I have a small
>> question. What is the phonological status of the French 'r'? Can it be
>> better described as an uvular fricative or an uvular trill? Because at
>> this PoA I have difficulties to know what I'm really doing when I
>> pronounce this sound.
>I've heard "French R" described as a "uvular trill", but I've never
'Twas once - hence the old time books so describe it. I guess lazy authors
who don't want to check simply keep repeating the out-of-date stuff.
>every French speaker I've heard has used a uvular fricative.'
Indeed they do (unless from the south of France where the apical trill
still survives in rural areas :)
>OTOH, with German I've heard everything: alveolar taps and trills,
>uvular fricatives and trills.... The uvular trill is pretty hard to
>mistake, once you've heard it. Dr. Ruth has a pretty strong uvular
>trill, if you've ever had the chance to hear her.
I have occasionally heard it in France & some north Walian speakers use it.
Yes, it's unmistakable once heard.
>' Then again, I don't think I've heard any Parisians speak---numerous
>Qu=E9becois, a Dijonaise, and a few others that I think hail from the
>provinces. So the city dialect may indeed have a uvular trill.
No - trills of whatever type seems to belong to the slower life of the
countryside & are helpful when the voice has to carry over, say, one side
of a field to another. They were also favored by actors in the days
before microphones and voice amplification became common-place.
But urban dwellers, especially in this age of electronic communication, do
not favor trills. The Parisian /r/ is the voiced uvular fricative.
And at 7:37 pm +0200 1/10/99, Boudewijn Rempt wrote:
>I seem to remember it described as an uvular fricative, writting in ipa
>as a small-caps upside-down R. ... Just looked it up, yes, according
>to Ladefoged (The Sounds of the Worlds Languages), "... and a fricative
>uvular rhotic is the most common production of 'r' in French..." (p. 232),
Yep - that's the fellow; and he's written, as you say, with an inverted
upper case R.
>so a 'uvular scrape' is a good description ;-)
The rarer, 'old-fashioned' (at least as far as French is concerned) uvular
trill is simply written as upper case R in IPA.