Date: Tue, 7 Oct 1997 21:57:19 -0400


Subject: An R-full mess

Can anyone point me to recent work on post-vocalic r's? Along with the

other resonant consonants, it's probably responsible for more front and

back vowel merger/collapses than the recent earthquakes in Italy.

Actually, the point of my question comes from a recent conversation with

a student in one of my classes. In the class I interview and record each

student and ask each student to use himself as the basis for a research

project. After the recent interview session, this student was concerned

about his transcription of post-vocalic R's. By the by, he is good at

transciption and has a good ear. He said that his r's just didn't sound

like those of the other people in the class (He also speaks French and

spent last summer in France.) In response, and I may not have used the

right terms, about which I am asking advice now, I told him that his

post-vocalic r's were tauto-syllabic, representing a CVC syllabic

structure (for the pronuncation of say, "car") whereas his classmates

were syllabifying the r, resulting in what is really a CVV syllabic


In replying, please feel free to correct my use of terminology. But I

would also like to know of work that looks at this difference, which

impressionistically seems to me to be a significant variable. CJ Bailey

comments on the difference in an ERIC paper, but I haven't found any

other discussion of any substance. Help if you can. (Bailey suggests,

if I read him correctly, that the difference is the defining variable of

regional speech in American English.)

Virtually, Terry


Terry Lynn Irons t.irons[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

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