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"
> way I do it.
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
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|?
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" ]