On Fri, Jul 19, 2013 at 11:59:25AM -0700, Garth Wallace wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 19, 2013 at 10:47 AM, H. S. Teoh <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >
> > OK, now I'm *really* wondering if what I think I'm pronouncing as a
> > flap is actually just a really fast [d], because it has absolutely
> > *no* resemblance to the way I'm pronouncing my trills right now!
> A flap IS a really fast [d], more or less: the articulation is the
> same but contact between the tongue and the roof of the mouth is brief
> enough that the airflow isn't interrupted. The English /d/ is usually
> [ɾ] intervocalically.

OK, good to know. Well, then the description of [r] being a "prolonged
[4]" is completely inaccurate, because I simply cannot produce any trill
from that POA at all! I have to hold my tongue differently, slightly
raised in the middle, and contract the roof of my mouth somewhat, and
breathe differently, in order to make [r]. Completely unlike [d] or [4].

On Fri, Jul 19, 2013 at 06:17:55PM -0300, Leonardo Castro wrote:
> 2013/7/19 H. S. Teoh <[log in to unmask]>:
> > On Wed, Jul 17, 2013 at 05:45:53PM -0300, Leonardo Castro wrote:
> >> My native dialect doesn't have alveolar trills, but pt-BR does have
> >> them in some accents. I find it easy to pronounce (bilabiar trill
> >> is far more difficult),
> >
> > Really? I find the bilabial trill really easy. It's just a
> > "raspberry" (in American parlance).
> But do you find it easy to pronounce a bilabial trill followed or
> preceded by a vowel?

Funny, I just tried it, and found it's easier to pronounce initial [B\]
followed by a vowel, and much harder to for an initial vowel to
transition to [B\]. In either case, I've to blow really hard to get my
lips to flap while pronouncing a vowel before/after. You're right that
[B\] in isolation is the easiest of them all.

Also, trying to say [B\a], [aB\], and [aB\a] again, I find that voiced
[B\] is much harder than unvoiced [B\]. Maybe this is because I'm
unconsciously actually pronouncing it as [pB\] (very short labial stop
with trilled release), and voicing tenses the lips in the wrong way for
trilling. (Well, not the voicing itself, but probably an unconscious
habitual correspondence of lip muscle position with devoicing.)

In any case, [B\] seems to require a very forceful puff of air to get
the lips vibrating. Which has the unfortunate effect of increasing the
likelihood of unwanted spewage of oral fluids. Perhaps that's why it's
such a rare phoneme -- it's too likely to just get dropped if it ever
developed naturally in a language.

> Before some Chorus classes, we had to do, as exercise, bilabial trills
> with the lips relaxed. It was even more difficult when many people
> start laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation.

Well, up here in the Great White North, we say [B\] when the bitter cold
of harsh winter descends upon us, so we don't quite regard it as
ridiculous as tropical dwellers may. ;-)

> > On Thu, Jul 18, 2013 at 03:53:33PM +0100, David McCann wrote:
> > On Thu, Jul 18, 2013 at 10:09:35AM -0700, Cosman246 wrote:
> >> I can do a uvular trill, but not alveolar. I wonder how one could
> >> learn...
> [...]
> > I wish I knew how to explain it. For about 3 decades I've been
> > unable to produce an alveolar trill, in spite of being given
> > countless advice on how to do it.  Well, I'm still not 100% sure
> > what I'm pronouncing is an *alveolar* trill; it's some kind of
> > apical trill, that much is clear, but the POA seems to be
> > significantly nearer to the hard palate than an alveolar trill would
> > be expected to be.
> Once I noted that, while pronouncing an alveolar trill, the left
> border of my tongue keeps immobile in contact with my left teeth, kind
> of supported by them, and only right border actually vibrates.
> Trying to "correct" it, I found that making the whole tongue vibrate
> requires much more effort from me.

Huh, that's interesting. So you're saying your trills are ... lateral?
Unilateral, even, if one may abuse the term. :) Makes me wonder if any
language has unilateral phonemes... it'd be good conlang material (for a
freaklang, that is :-P).


We are in class, we are supposed to be learning, we have a teacher... Is
it too much that I expect him to teach me??? -- RL