Bilabial Trill (was: rhotics)
|From:||Kristian Jensen <kljensen@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, December 3, 2000, 11:54|
Keith Alasdair Mylchreest wrote:
>On Thu, Nov 30, 2000 at 10:48:08PM -0500, H. S. Teoh wrote:
>> *sigh* I can't whistle nor trill an /r/ :-(
>> The bilabial trill is about the only trill I can do.
>I remember reading once that the bilabial trill although easy to do (e.g.
>"Brrrr, it's cold!") isn't used as a phoneme in any know language. Is that
>true. I seems a bit odd given all the "impossible" clicks, glottals,
>multiple articulations etc that are used in speech.
According to "The Sounds of the World's Languages" (Ladefoged & Maddieson),
they do exist. Not as phonemes, like you said, but as allophones. They only
occur in prenasalized instances, and are usually still limited in their
occurence to a narrow set of environments. All of the known occurences of
bilabial trills historically developed from prenasalized bilabial stop
followed by a high rounded vowel, i.e. a sequence of /mbu/. One exception
is Luquan Yi (Tibeto-Burman, China) with a fricativized rounded vowel
realized as a syllabic bilabial trill. Languages listed in the book with
this sound are; Nias (Austronesian, Indonesia), Na?ahai (Austronesian,
Vanuatu), Kele (Austronesian, Papua New Guinea), and Nweh (Niger-Kordofanian,
Nigeria). One possible reason why its rare, according to the book, is that
the lips have a larger mass than either the uvular or the tongue tip.