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Re: Lovin' the liquids (was: Re: Mutable R's)

From:Jonathan Knibb <j_knibb@...>
Date:Friday, March 28, 2003, 0:56
FWIW, I tried to learn Czech a few years ago, at a time when I knew a
Czech guy fairly well, and for obvious reasons I used to pay fairly
close attention to his r-haceks. :)  As I recall, he would pronounce
it at the beginning of a word as a single alveolar flap along with
some apico-alveolar voiced frication (whether this was exclusively
after the flap or whether some crept in before it I can't remember).
Intervocalically, OTOH, it would usually come out as a pure fricative
in the same position.  And when it was part of a consonant cluster ...
well, I never progressed that far in Czech. :)

(OT: Surely the most difficult consonant cluster in opera must be the
Kostelnicka's line in the second act of Jenufa, when she enters with
the baby and yells 'Z hr^ichu vzes^el'?  [zh\r_ri:xu...]  Three
consonants before a top B - nasty.)

Incidentally, in the name Dvorak (hacek over r, carka/acute over a),
the most striking difference to my ears between its pronunciation
by a Czech and by an average English speaker is the relative
shortness of the r-hacek compared with the length of the
following long 'a' - very different auditorily from the long cluster
resulting from an English pronunciation of [rZ].


[reply to jonathan underscore knibb at hotmail dot com]
'O dear white children casual as birds,
Playing among the ruined languages...'
Auden/Britten, 'Hymn to St. Cecilia'