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

From:Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Date:Sunday, November 7, 2004, 14:32
Okay, it seems what Sally and I had heah was a failyuh to comyoonicate,
coupled with my personal ignorance of a once-common characterization of the
American /r/ as retroflex.  Also, there's the fact that I don't have a
convenient X-ray machine to see what the heck my own tongue is doing
when I pronounce one.

So I apologize again to Sally for the confusion and misinterpretation of
her tone, and readily accept her apologies in turn.

I think we all now understand and agree upon what the IPA means by
"retroflex", and that it is a manner of articulation masquerading as a
point of articulation because that's how it patterns (a useful
clarification; thank you).  The CXS symbol for the retroflex
approximant is [r\`], which is a direct mapping of the components of the
IPA symbol: the symbol for the dental/alveolar/postalveoloar approximant
[r\] plus the rhotic hook [`].

But AFAICT we still haven't established what the realization of /r/ in
General American English actually is, much less whether my /r/ and
Sally's /r/ differ from that or from each other.

All I can say about GAE is that I have never noticed any difference
between its /r/ and mine.  So I hereby resolve to avoid any
generalizations for the balance of this message. :)

Having now spent a frankly disturbing amount of time pronouncing /r/
with my fingers in my mouth and/or in front of a mirror with a
flashlight, I am going to do a complete 180-degree turn, withdraw my
objection, and agree that my /r/ is in fact retroflex - now that I
realize that "retroflex" is not the same as "sublaminal".  The tip of my
tongue definitely curls up.  I note that it also seems to have something
of a lateral component, in that the sides of my tongue touch the insides
of my upper teeth.

So at my /r/, and based on earlier messages in this thread,
Sally's /r/, are both apparently [r\`].  So it would not be much of a
stretch to assume that the GAE /r/ is also [r\`].  But I'm not going to
make that assumption, because I resolved above not to. :)



Sally Caves <scaves@...>