Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: Rolling your R's

Expand Messages
  • H. S. Teoh
    ... Well, I doubt it s a retroflex trill, cos I can t curl my tongue. :) ... Yeah, most of the time when I try to pronounce /xr/ I just end up making some
    Message 1 of 40 , Jul 17, 2013
    • 0 Attachment
      On Wed, Jul 17, 2013 at 06:58:43PM +1200, James Kane wrote:
      > It seems like you might be producing a voiceless _retroflex_ trill? It
      > is sort of like pushing your tongue forward from its curled position
      > by a puff of air (with maybe some frication in the throat - don't
      > quote me, I'm not a phonetician). Otherwise it's probably a voiceless
      > alveolar or voiceless uvular trill.

      Well, I doubt it's a retroflex trill, 'cos I can't curl my tongue. :)

      > I've always been able to roll an alveolar trill, although I find it
      > much easier to just tap/flap (I still don't know the difference
      > between taps and flaps). I've had a lot of trouble with the uvular
      > trill; for the first few years of learning French I think I pronounced
      > it just as a voiced velar fricative that assimilated in voicing to
      > surrounding consonants. Even now it comes and goes. Sometimes in
      > isolation I can produce it easily, other times (like now, as I sit in
      > front of my computer making weird noises) it doesn't come at all. But
      > when I speak it I'm pretty sure I just get a uvular fricative.

      Yeah, most of the time when I try to pronounce /xr/ I just end up making
      some kind of guttural fricative, maybe [x] or [X].

      > The IPA signs for voiceless trills are just the signs for normal
      > trills with the voiceless diacritic: /r̊ ʀ̊/. I hope that comes
      > through, it's an <r> and a small capital <R> with empty rings above.
      > Can you flap? I find it easier than trilling and when I'm lazy I just
      > use the flap everywhere there should be trills. The only advice for
      > trilling, which you've probably heard already, is to prolong a flap.

      OK, flapping is trivial for me (unless what I *think* is a flap,
      isn't!), but when I try to prolong a flap I just end up saying [t:]. :)

      However, maybe what I imagine is a flap really isn't, and is just a very
      fast [d].

      On Wed, Jul 17, 2013 at 09:18:09AM +0200, BPJ wrote:
      > I guess you can coarticulate a uvular and an alveolar trill/fricative
      > but I'd guess that you're just pronouncing a voiceless uvular trill. A
      > forcefully articulated /X/ easily becomes trilled. You should rather
      > easily feel if the uvula is vibrating; it kind of bubbles in your
      > throat.

      Hmm. Now that you mention it, I think I may have been pronouncing
      *different* trills each time. If I keep my tongue relatively low while
      trying to say /xr/, if I manage to get a trill out of it, it's almost
      certainly an uvular trill. It feels like gargling.

      OTOH, because the /xr/ occurs in the word /ExrlU/, the
      immediately-following /l/ makes me want to hold my tongue near [l], so
      it's entirely possible that it's coming out as a voiceless alveolar
      trill. Or perhaps it's coming out as [xr] and [xR\] on different
      occasions (along with various failed attempts like [x:] or [X:]), and
      I'm just confusing myself into thinking it's the same sound each time.

      > Swedish velars have uvular allophones -- /k/ and /g/ around back
      > vowels and /x/ anywhere -- and I rise the tip of my tung when
      > pronouncing them about half of the time, perhaps with some slight
      > extra friction. Even so coarticulations like [xS) XS)] and even [xp\)
      > Xp\] are within the normal 'lectal range of that highly polymorphic
      > Swedish phoneme the 'sj-sound'. [xS)] even has its own symbol [x\]!

      OK, I've no idea how to simultaneously pronounce [x] and [S]. That seems
      really difficult. :)

      OTOH, the trills I've been pronouncing have a noticeably fricative-like
      quality to them. Could it be that I'm actually saying [xr)] or [XR\)]?
      (Is that even possible?)

      > Anyway my pronunciation ranges between velar and uvular with the
      > occasional labialization, and it easily becomes a trill e.g. when I
      > say [Xu\:kt_h] 'sick!' as an exclamation.

      Funny, now that you mention it, I notice myself mispronouncing /x/ as
      [R\] in words where /xr/ isn't there. :) It seems that /x/ in /xr/
      might be more accurately described as /X/, or at least, I've to
      pronounce it closer to /X/ in order to get any trills out of it.

      > IPA has a symbol for a bilabial trill: a small capital B or [B\] in
      > CXS.

      Right, I forgot to mention that one. :)

      On Wed, Jul 17, 2013 at 10:59:52AM +0200, taliesin the storyteller wrote:
      > On 2013-07-17 09:18, BPJ wrote:
      > >I guess you can coarticulate a uvular and an alveolar trill/fricative
      > >but I'd guess that you're just pronouncing a voiceless uvular trill.
      > >A forcefully articulated /X/ easily becomes trilled. You should
      > >rather easily feel if the uvula is vibrating; it kind of bubbles in
      > >your throat.
      > .. like gargling water without the water, really.

      Yep, that's a pretty accurate description.

      OTOH, this discussion is starting to make me wonder if /x/ in my alien
      conlang really has [x] and [X] as allophones. Previously I thought there
      was only [x].

      > Same for an alveolar trill, there's very little doubt when you get it
      > right, the mouthfeel is unique.

      True. I've been trying to dissociate /r/ from the original /xr/ (or /Xr/
      or /R\/, whatever it was) context that I stumbled upon initially. I
      still can't fully get rid of the [x]-like quality of my alveolar trills.
      I still find myself making an initial [x] or [G] (or something along
      those lines) in order to get the trill started. Is that normal?

      > Non-plosives and non-trills can be ingressive (breathing *in*
      > instead of *out*), which is a nice way of discovering how things are
      > placed in one's mouth, as all the protruding bits are cooled down
      > (provided that the temperature of the air is lower than that of the
      > body of course).

      Is it possible to have ingressive trills, or is that physically

      On Wed, Jul 17, 2013 at 05:18:05AM -0700, Roger Mills wrote:
      > From: H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
      > But about a week or so ago, while trying to figure out how exactly
      > _ehrlu_ should be pronounced in my new alien conlang (something like
      > /Exrlu/ where the /r/ is some kind of trill), I somehow accidentally
      > stumbled upon a guttural, voiceless trill of some sort, which I shall
      > refer to henceforth as /xr/. I still can't consistently produce it, but
      > the combination [Exr] somehow gets my vocal apparatus in (or near) the
      > state required for trilling, so once in a while a trill comes out.
      > =========================================
      > RM I can do [xr] or maybe [Xr] but I note that the velar/uvular pulls
      > the tongue tip back towards the hard palate....

      Yeah, that's what I noticed too. I've been trying to say /r/ without the
      velarization, but so far I've only had limited success. My /r/'s are
      still noticeably colored with [x] or [G].

      Meanwhile, I've been experimenting with various mouth positions that
      might strengthen my /r/'s. Anybody has any tips here?

      I find that narrowing my mouth horizontally seems to help strengthen the
      trill (I've no idea which muscles those are, or what they're called).
      But it makes it harder to say /r/ in speech, because I don't normally
      talk like that! It's like I pronounce everything else in my "normal"
      mouth configuration, but then when I get to /r/ I have to reconfigure my
      mouth, so the failure rate of actually producing a trill is rather high.

      I've also found that certain positions of widening the lips sometimes
      helps (but sometimes makes it worse). And I can't reliably reproduce the
      positions that help.

      > How do you tell the difference between an uvular trill
      > and an alveolar trill?
      > ===================
      > RM Oh my, just listen to any recording of Edith Piaf vs. any recording
      > of a Spanish or Italian speaker!!!!
      > ===========================

      Hehe, OK. I should look that up online when I get home. :)

      I think I can now identify the uvular trill (at least when I'm saying it
      myself). Like others have said, it's like gargling without water. A
      French oral tradition, perhaps? :-P :-P

      > Do y'all have trouble pronouncing trills? And if not, what kind of
      > trill(s) can you pronounce, and how?
      > ==================================
      > RM Try as I might, I cannot produce the uvular trill of Parisian
      > French (except when gargling ;-(((( )  though I can do uvular stops
      > and fricatives without a problem. When I try to "sound French (or
      > German)", my r's usually come out as a velar fricative.

      German has the uvular trill too?

      > OTOH I've never had any trouble with the alveolar trill/tap in
      > Spanish, Italian or Indonesian..... go figure !!

      You've no idea how happy I am to have discovered how to pronounce
      trills, however imperfect it may be at the moment... my entire childhood
      of exposure to Malay and being unable to trill my /r/'s, and then
      learning Russian in my adulthood and *still* being unable to trill my

      (I'm hoping that I'll be able to master [r] in the near future, so that
      I can start working on the [r]/[r_j] contrast in Russian, which I had no
      hope of before. Right now my trills require such specific configurations
      that attempting to palatize them just doesn't work. How do those Russian
      kids do it?!... OTOH, I'm partially comforted by the fact that Vladimir
      Lenin himself had trouble with /r/. :-P)

      > =========================================
      > Also, why aren't there IPA symbols for voiced/voiceless trills? I can
      > clearly pronounce both voiced and voiceless variants of /r/, and /xr/,
      > whatever it is, is clearly voiceless. But AFAICT, the only IPA symbols
      > for trills are [r] and [R\]?
      > ================================
      > RM Perhaps because they are (or were once thought to be) rare in
      > languages of the world. Anyhow, there's a "voiceless" diacritic.

      I see. There's also the bilabial trill [B\] in IPA; are there actually
      any languages that use that phonemically??


      Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals could believe them. -- George Orwell
    • Roger Mills
      Spanish, when sung, often gets distorted...:-)  To my ears, he s just doing the normal [D] (as in Engl. the, there) pronunciation of intervocalic /d/. The
      Message 40 of 40 , Jul 23, 2013
      • 0 Attachment
        Spanish, when sung, often gets distorted...:-)  To my ears, he's just doing the normal [D] (as in Engl. the, there) pronunciation of intervocalic /d/. The fact that his mouth is wide open may have something to do with it.

        As you probably know, in colloquial ~fast speech, Span. intervoc. /d/ [D] is often dropped entirely-- aplastado = [aplas'ta.o]

        From: Leonardo Castro <leolucas1980@...>
        To: CONLANG@...
        Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 12:42 PM
        Subject: Re: Rolling your R's

        Is it just me, or they really pronounce the "d" of "aplastado",
        "espinado", etc. as laminar alveolar flaps in this song (Corazón


        Até mais!

      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.