Date: Sat, 15 Jan 1994 00:34:50 -0700
From: Rudy Troike RTROIKE[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]ARIZVMS.BITNET
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.