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'rhotic plosives' (was: laterals)

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Wednesday, February 11, 2004, 19:52
On Wednesday, February 11, 2004, at 05:26 AM, Nik Taylor wrote:

> Javier BF wrote:
[snip - I agree with Nik on the snipped bits]
>> Most taps/flaps and trills _are_ plosive, whether >> they are 'counted' as "plosives" or not.
Not the apical trills I've heard from Scots people nor the apical trills I heard during my 22 year sojourn in Wales - no, for that matter, from Spaniards I've met. But as I've met rather less of the latter, it may be the Spanish speakers I've met are not typical. But let's be precise about our terminology. PLOSION = the outward movement of air upon release from a closure (stop). PLOSIVE - a type of stop consonant (i.e. one involving closure) whose release is accompanied by plosion. Therefore, for a consonant to be a plosive, there must be closure followed by plosion. Even if, for the say of argument at this point, I accept a complete closure is made in rapid succession in a trill (whether made with the apex of the tongue or with the uvular [the latter is heard in certain regions of north Wales]), I have never been aware of any plosion of the release. I'm less familiar with flaps (books say it occurs in RP pronunciation of _very_ - but that's a good half century out of date, i think), but when i have heard them I've not been aware of any noticeable plosion.
>> Castilian >> Spanish -rr- is nothing but a quick succession of >> alveolar d's, that is, a quick succession of alveolar >> stops. > > I wouldn't call it that! It's produced completely differently. -rr- is > not produced by raising and lowering the tongue in rapid succession, but > by the airstream causing the tip of the tongue to vibrate.
Quite - the top of the tongue _vibrates_ (that's why it's often called an _apical_ trill); similarly, the uvular vibrates when a uvular trill is made. There's no way a uvular trill is a rapid succession of uvular voiced plosives.
> A tap would > make sense to call a very brief stop,
OK (as I said, I'm less familiar with flaps) - brief tho it may be, is the duration long enough for the block air stream to produce any significant plosion?
> altho given that many languages do > distinguish between taps and stops, it seems logical to distinguish > them. > >> English r is >> usually an apico-postalveolar approximant-flap, > > Approximant-flap? What's that mean? How can something be both a flap > and an approximant?
Quite. This is absolutely confusing! Above Javier is maintaining that a flap is a plosive, i.e. the airstream is blocked and then released with plosion. An approximant is, as I understand it, a frictionless continuant. CONTINUANT = a sound produced with incomplete closure of the vocal tract. I fail to see how something can be both a plosive and an approximant! Even if we discount the 'plosive' description of a flap, nevertheless, we can say that a flap is caused a rapid contact between two organs of articulation. How can you have a rapid contact (i.e. rapid closure) and the thing still be a flap? Extremely puzzled. Ray =============================================== (home) (work) =============================================== "A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760