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Simafiran "r"

From:Steve Kramer <scooter@...>
Date:Wednesday, November 14, 2001, 4:08
Help the non-linguist!

I'm trying to come up with a working vocabulary for Simafira, and in the
process I think I may have come up with the first exception to Simafira's
up-until-now absolutely regular orthography and phonology (i.e. one letter
to one sound).

It concerns the letter "r".  Up until now, this has been what I was guess
is a velar approximant - the same sound it makes in French.  But I've
noticed that it tends to drift a bit depending on the letters I put around
it.  In the middle of words it tends to be surrounded by vowels because of
Simafira's phonological constraints - which right now are [(h)+(C)+V+
(l,m,n,r)] for each syllable - it tends to stay "soft" for lack of a
better word.  Like the French "r" or even the Japanese "r" - though unlike
some dialects of Japanese it stops short of becoming a /d/ sound.

At the end of words, or at the end of syllables when the next syllable
begins with a consonant, the "r" hardens up.  It also acquires something
of a trill, though I cannot in fact roll my r's at all.  I've seen
descriptions of a "tap" or "flap", though in the recordings I have, it
simply sounds like an "r" sound read quickly.

I'm experimenting with the sounds to see if they can switch places and not
violate my mostly-in-my-head ideas of the sounds of my language...

  Steve Kramer           ||           scooter (at) buser dot net          ||
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Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>