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Re: Rhoticity

From:Dirk Elzinga <dirk_elzinga@...>
Date:Friday, September 7, 2001, 15:45
>Ok. I'm looking at a possible sound change that would make all retroflex >consonants evolve into alveolars with some sort of rhotic touch to them (is >there such a thing as a rhotic coarticulation?); eventually I think this >will make the vowels r-colored and perhaps even lead to an [r] segment >creeping in. For example: > >*[das`] > [das_R] (using _R here for rhotic coarticulation) > [da`S_R] (now >the vowel is rhotic) > [dars] (not sure which type of [r] here, probably a >trill) > >Does that make sense? Or maybe: > >*[das`] > [das_R] ? [da`s_R] > [da@`s_R] > [da@s]
On a gut-intuition level, I would expect to see it go the other way; i.e., that a /Cr/ sequence becomes retroflex, if the /r/ is produced something like the English /r/. But this isn't based on lots of evidence, only on the feeling that consonant clusters eventually simplify with new clusters arising from the deletion of intervening vowels. But I can't say right off that what you propose is unreasonable or unnatural (whatever that means).
>Also, what is the difference anyway between /V`/ and /Vr\/ in English (with >[V] being a generic vowel)? Simply a transcriptional preference? Are there >languages in which /V`/ and /Vr/ are contrastive?
I think they would only be contrastive if the /r/ were not produced as a retroflex approximant but in some other way. Dirk -- Dirk Elzinga "Speech is human, silence is divine, yet also brutish and dead; therefore we must learn both arts." - Thomas Carlyle