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Re: rhotics (was: Hellenish oddities)

From:Kristian Jensen <kljensen@...>
Date:Monday, November 27, 2000, 13:57
BP Jonsson wrote:
>I wonder how widespread lgs with more than one "r" phoneme are? Spanish is >famous for its r/rr, Portuguese and Occitan have r/R, but beyond >that? What about people's conlangs? Wanic has a slew of laterals but only >one rhotic.
According to my texts, only ca. 20% of the world's langs have more than one /r/ phoneme. Most (ca. 75%) of the the world's langs have only one /r/ phoneme. Most of these are manifested as taps/trills. Dravidian and especially Australian langs are famous for having multiple <r>s. Toda, a Dravidian lang, in fact has rhotics in three places of articulation that are all trilled and at the same time contrast between plain and palatized versions in syllable final position -- six rhotics in all, e.g.: front alveolar trill, palatalized front alveolar trill, alveolar trill, palatalized alveolar trill, retroflexed trill, palatalized retroflexed trill. I'm not sure, but I think Toda is the world record holder. As far as my conlangs goes, both Boreanesian and Akte lack rhotics (at least in the underlying phonemic level). Proto-Boreanesian had an alveolar approximant. But all apical continuants underwent a process of lateralization so that Boreanesian today has no rhotics. Actually, Boreanesian has a lateral tap -- I'm not sure whether that's a rhotic or a lateral (or both). Akte has no underlying laterals or rhotics at all, but they surface as allophones of /t/ in intervocalic position. -kristian- 8)