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

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Monday, November 8, 2004, 7:21
On Sunday, November 7, 2004, at 02:59 , Sally Caves wrote:

> I just can't duplicate what John is describing and still pronounce "car" > the > way I do it.
OOOOPS!!!! Looks like some of us have been writing at cross purposes - probably not for the first time in this thread :) I cannot answer for John, but I've been assuming that Sally was talking about the |r| in |rack|, not the |r| in |car|. While I have an alveolar approximant for the first, I have no consonant at all for the second! As I think it is well known, in the urban speech of south east England & in RP there is no rhotic consonant in syllable coda. I pronounce |car| as [k_hA:]. On some words we use centering diphthongs, e.g. |here| [hi@]. Now many rural dialects do use r-colored vowels or diphthongs here and, indeed, in certain circumstance I occasionally use them also. These _vowels_ are, as I have written earlier in the thread, termed 'retroflex' by some people because the r-coloring is given tongue movement similar to retroflexion. It does of course describe the _manner_ in which these vowels are pronounced. But as Marcos has written, and I agreed with him, this usage is confusing as it is *not* the same usage as IPA point of articulation of consonants. IPA charts name he feature denoted by the diacritic which CXS represents thus [`] (my mailer doesn't seem to like the actual IPA symbol) as 'rhotocity'. I suspect this is where the confusion has come into this thread. We have not all been writing about the same thing or using the term 'retroflex' in the same way. Now, back to |car|. The rhotic dialects of south England & the midlands have [k_hA`], that is [A] pronounced with retroflexion of the tongue, i.e. r-colored or rhoticized. But there's no consonant. It's rather like the nasal consonants in, say, French where a final nasal consonant ha been dropped leaving the vowel pronounced with nasalization. Similarly, in the rhotic dialects I am familiar with, the final /r/ has disappeared as a consonant, leaving only a rhoticized vowel. I've assumed - probably because the effect is similar and I have been _hearing_ a sound I'm familiar with & not _listening_ carefully - that the same was true of the American r-colored vowels. Indeed, because I understood similar vowels occurred in modern standard Chinese as well as in Merkan English & some Brit varieties, I had once considrred using |r| as a vowel in BrSc - but was dissuaded after disussion on this list. But as I cannot hear Sally speak, I can make no judgment and it may well be that she and many other Merkans do have a separate _consonant_ here, namely the retroflex approximant. Certainly some Scots speakers seem to make a separate aprroximant consonant in such positions (other Scots have trilled /r/ here, as do Welsh speakers). If Sally does indeed have the retroflex approximant here, then CXS certainly has a symbol for it, albeit a compound symbol, namely [r\`]. Do those speakers who have [r\`] in syllable coda, use the same approximant in onset position? In other words, do Merkans generally pronounce /r/ in |car| the same as the /r/ in |rack|? Ray =============================================== =============================================== Anything is possible in the fabulous Celtic twilight, which is not so much a twilight of the gods as of the reason." [JRRT, "English and Welsh" ]


Garth Wallace <gwalla@...>
Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>