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Rhoticity (Was: Several phonetic questions)

From:Josh Brandt-Young <vionau@...>
Date:Saturday, January 18, 2003, 10:53
Quoth Muke Tever:

>> What is a rhotic? I've heard somewhere that r sounds are called rhotics, >> but I rarely hear that term used. Are [r] [4] [r\] [r'] [r\'] [R\] and [R] >> all rhotics? > > If it sounds like an r, it's rhotic. I have no idea how this works.
Rhoticity has to do, in phonetic terminology, with a lowering of the third formant frequency in a characteristic way. For words with the American /r/ in them, if you view them on a spectrogram you'll see the third formant swoop down dramatically and then rise up again. All sounds which cause this phenomenon, then, would tend to be classified as rhotic; but in fact, Muke's analysis is probably the one most frequently used in the world of language study: it's rhotic if it sounds rhotic. I'm not sure whether all the "r" symbols listed above would be formally considered "rhotic"--I'd plug in my microphone and find out but it's in the other room and I'm feeling lazy. :) Cheers, Josh ---------- Josh Brandt-Young <vionau@...> "After the tempest I behold, once more, the weasel." (Mispronunciation of Ancient Greek)