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John Cowan wrote:
> Carsten Becker scripsit:
> > Hey!
> > 1)   How can I get from [4] to /R/, i.e. [X, R]?
>
> Because they are perceptually similar, this can happen in a single
> generation.  A child hears [4], produces [R], and is accepted;
> the innovation spreads until everyone is doing it.
>
IIRC Dirk Elzinga or Tom Wier has pointed out that "rhotics" of all types
cause similar changes in the formants of the vowels.

I wonder if the reverse change, from (consonantal) G, R or X > r is widely
attested?  It's posited in the history of the Austronesian languages (*G >
/r/ in many), though the pronunciation of *G is simply assumed from the
various reflexes-- r, g, h/0 and some others.

The claim is often made (I just read it in a recent article) that the change
[r] > [R] spread from the French court in the 18th C. to, in particular, the
German and Russian courts, thence eventually to the populace in general (or
most of it, anyway).

It has to be due to such extrinsic and relatively sudden factors, since
there is no way you can chart a purely _articulatory_ pathway from [r] to
[R], as you can, say, for the change [p] > P/f > h > 0 or others.