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Re: Need some help with terms: was "rhotic miscellany"

From:Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>
Date:Friday, November 5, 2004, 18:50
Sally Caves wrote:

> ----- Original Message ----- > From: "Ray Brown" <ray.brown@...> > > > > Like our > >> "lie/lay" confusion that is fast becoming standard, alas, in the US. > > > It's an old confusion. In early ME, or in the transition from OE to ME, I > believe, "lay" and "set" were established as transitive alternatives to > the > intransitives "lie" and "sit." But the confusion has abounded since then; > you see it in Renaissance English and later, and the 18th-century > grammarians made it a "rule" for standard English. In formal writing, > especially among my dissertationers, I insist on it, and I hope that > doesn't > stir John Cowan's sense of elitist prescriptivism. :), especially since > even > I am slipping into this tendency, but orally, never literarily.
Ho ho. I consider myself a pretty good speaker of English, but the principal parts of lie and lay are always a problem, and I'm sure I mix them up-- not in present tense, but in past and perfect. Pres: I lie on my bed; I lie down (lay here only by inadvertence) Past: I lay ?? on my bed; I lay down (or is it laid???) (remembering "Christ _lag_ in Todesbanden" helps here) Perf: I have lain ?? on my bed...; I had just lain down when the phone rang. _lain_ sounds more correcter....:-)) Whereas _lay_ is laid, (have) laid. I think......... But somehow these are two verbs I seldom use. ---------------------
> I had better reconsider the difference between uvular > and velar. I have been confusing these terms as a number of you > conlangers > have pointed out to me. Now that I'm getting good at my uvular trill, :)
Pas moi; I was the despair of my French tutor years ago. _Fauteuil_ also defeated me... (this was before I studied Phonetics, of course; now I can approximate "fauteuil" and Dutch "huis", but still can't trill the damn uvula.)
> If I say Bach, however, I find the fricative issuing from the soft > palate and NOT the uvula, though, sans trill.
That is as it should be.
> > >>> The symbol ` is used to show rhotacized or r-colored vowels: [a`], > >>> [@`], > >>> [i`] etc.
I'm not sure "rhotacized" and "r-colored" are synonyms.....but could be wrong. I've always thought "rhotacize ~rhotacism" referred to the change of some sound to [r], as in Latin and Germanic intervocalic s > r.
> What I need help with is understanding "rhotic" and especially > "approximant." Is rhotacized the same as rhotic?
I don't think so. See above re rhotacized; rhotic seems to mean 1. "r-like", and 2. a class of sounds ([r, r\, R] et al.) that cause specific changes in the formants of a preceding vowel. Does rhotacized mean a
> pulling back of the tongue to form the whisper of a retroflex "r"?
I think that's simply "retroflexion". (whereas
> "rhotic" means "having to do with r's and their differences)?
Yes, see above. Somebody else
> told me that my American "r" (in "American" and "car") was probably an > approximant, and he distinguished it from a "retroflex." Have I > misunderstood him?
1. It's an approximant-- as you say, "the POA is almost reached but isn't". The gap between tongue and POA is insufficient to produce friction. Cf. also the difference between the usual Spanish fricative /y/ and English approximant /y/(1). 2. Whether truly retroflexed or not, I'm not sure; retroflexed means, strictly IMO, that the tip of the tongue is pulled back and raised toward the POA. If you've ever seen an X-ray picture of American [r\] or a drawing of the same, the main feature seems to be that the body of the tongue is bunched up, while the tip is only slightly curled, if at all (various YAEPTs have discussed this, it seems to vary individually). American /r/ may be more a matter of "retracted tongue root", but that's something I'm not up on (oops, ...up on which I'm not :-) -------------------- (1) Surely the same failure to reach the POA accounts for the changes/loss of intervoc. voiced stops in French and Spanish. We can easily produce a continuum from fully stopped [d] for ex., to laxed [D], to an even more laxed [D...] where the tongue is still sort-of in [D] position, but producing little or no friction (don't think there's an IPA or SAMPA for this), finally to zero, where the tongue doesn't make any transition between V1...V2. Same with [s]; eventually you end up just making [h]-- lo and behold, a very common sound change.


Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>