Date: Sat, 15 Jan 1994 00:34:50 -0700


Subject: Re: consonantal /r/


I hate to tell you it was 76 today, going down into the chilly 40s

tonight! You know I empathize, though. You have a better ear than I for

the velar:retroflex contrast. I used to regularly teach a course on

phonetics, but always felt that these were two different ways to tune the

oral cavity, producing essentially the same acoustic product, and might be

randomly distributed in the population. Your observations re regional

differentiation are interesting.

I was thinking more of the strong consonantal postvocalic /r/ which

is sometimes characterized as a "Scottish burr", which might vary from a trill

to a brief apical closure. Clearly the vocalized /r/ is a relatively recent

innovation in English history, as comparative Germanic evidence indicates, as

well as internal evidence like metathesis and rhotacism.

Stay warm. You can think of us next summer when it is 110 here.

--Rudy Troike