On 17 July 2013 21:15, H. S. Teoh <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> 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
Okay, I feel like I'm repeating myself, but I guess I have to since this
bit of misinformation keeps coming back on the list: The French rhotic is
normally *not* an uvular trill [ʀ]. It's an uvular *fricative* [ʁ] in most
of the country (well, that or an approximant. Somehow the IPA uses the same
symbol for both), and an alveolar trill [r] in some Southern accents. The
uvular trill exists only in the speech of *some* Parisians (of whom Edith
Piaf was the most well known), and it's an accent that is strongly decried,
and made fun of, by the rest of France. In any case, it's not a sound you
should use as a foreigner to speak French, as people may take it as if you
were making fun of them (it *is* jarring). The uvular fricative is far
easier to pronounce, so if you want to speak French I'd advise you to focus
on that one anyway :) .

That said, if you just want to learn to pronounce and recognise uvular
trills just for the sake of it, knock yourself out with Piaf, she's got
very strong ones!

> [...]
> > 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.

Strangely enough, I have no problem pronouncing uvular trills, fricatives
and approximants, but have a hard time with uvular stops.

> When I try to "sound French (or
> > German)", my r's usually come out as a velar fricative.
> German has the uvular trill too?
It has [r], [ʁ] and [ʀ] in free variation for a single /r/ phoneme, mostly
depending on dialect I believe. I have no idea which is the more common.

Some Dutch dialects also have the uvular trill as realisation of their
rhotic phoneme. And then there's the infamous "kinderen-voor-kinderen r",
which is pronounced as an uvular trill word-initially, and
syllable-initially after a consonant, and as an alveolar approximant in
coda position or between vowels. Some people affect that pronunciation to
sound "posh", but to me it just sounds like they're trying too much. I
myself use an alveolar flap/trill, but that's because my first exposition
to Dutch was through its Southern dialects :) .

> > 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
> /r/'s.
When I first started learning Spanish, something like 22 years ago, I
despaired of ever getting both its rhotics right. The flap was relatively
easy. But the trill mystified me. Until I somehow got it one day (after
repeating about a thousand times "el perro de San Roque no tiene rabo"!).
Since then I never forgot it. Trilling is like biking: after you learn it
you never forget :) . Actually, it went so far that when I got the trill
right I somehow lost the ability to make correct flaps (I would trill them
too much), and I had to relearn to make flaps! :P

The trick that did it for me, IIRC, was to stop focussing on tongue
movement and start focussing on my breath. Alveolar trills are not produced
by consciously moving your tongue, but rather by placing your tongue in the
right position, relaxing its tip, and letting the air flow do the work for
you. The difficult part is relaxing the tongue just enough. Relaxing it too
much will result in not much of anything, while not relaxing it enough will
produce a fricative. There's a kind of Goldilocks zone of relaxation when
it comes to trills :P.

> (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)
Palatalised trills are easy enough. My own problem is being unable to
distinguish alveolo-palatal fricatives from postalveolar ones!
Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets.