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On Tue, 6 Feb 2001, E-Ching Ng wrote:

> >I wasn't exposed to it in childhood, and my tongue tip doesn't seem very
> >limber.  I can do a continued uvular flap, but I can't sustain the
> >quasi-trill I produce more than a second or two.  Practice.  :-)
>
> Yoon Ha, you can do a uvular flap?!?  I can do a uvular trill (having
> learnt French briefly and stopped, I practiced the fricative in odd moments
> and then one day in Phonetics class realised that I'd overshot) but I
> certainly can't flap or tap back there!

Er...I had been given to understand from one or two books that "trill"
and "flap" were nearly interchangeable.  Apologies, that probably should
be trill then.

> I also have major trouble distinguishing the Cantonese tones.  They have
> three level tones (high, mid, low-mid) and one very low falling tone that
> sounds to me like a fourth level tone.  And then they distinguish between
> high rising and low rising.  [chuckle]  When I did my tonal
> migrated-to-southern-China Indo-European language, I found myself including
> a contrast between high falling and low falling that I couldn't possibly
> have distinguished consistently in real life ...

I wonder, does perfect/relative pitch help at all in learning tonal
languages, or does it just confuse the issue?  (As someone with perfect
pitch I can attest that it *often* confuses the issue in musical things,
or maybe I'm just slow!)

YHL