Re: [tied] Sanskrit /r/

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 7726
Date: 2001-06-23

But postalveolar sounds are made behind the upper teeth as well. If the flapped or tapped /r/ was retracted but not subapical, and if the retroflex variant was only slightly so, how would a naive observer have known the difference? I think the phonological argument remains very strong: /r/ triggers retroflex place assimilation as well as retroflex consonant harmony across an intervening vowel. I can't imagine an ordinary alveolar doing such things.
I have already commented on the pronunciation of Old Indic "v". I think most specialists would support the opinion that it was bilabial and that /w/ would be a more accurate transcription.
----- Original Message -----
From: rao.3@...
Sent: Saturday, June 23, 2001 5:24 AM
Subject: Re: [tied] Sanskrit /r/

--- In cybalist@......, "petegray" <petegray@......> wrote:
> > My Classical Snaskrit textbook states /r/ is a retroflex
> > ("cerebral") sound in Sanskrit. It's rather unclear from the
> > passage, whether it's a reconstructed value or the value
> > preserved by Indian tradition.
> In Sanskrit /r/ makes a following n or /S/ retroflex.
> This is a fairly big clue.

H. H. Hock (I don't remember the precise bibliographic details,
but I believe in the volume edited by Jan Houben) disagrees.

We need to be wary of Sanskrit grammar books. They tend to
repeat things that a close analysis has shown to be doubtful
if not wrong. The earliest phonetic descriptions describe /r/
as being produced at behind the top teeth, or as an alveolar.
Its positioning as a retroflex seems to be found only in
latter writings with a bias towards a filled orthogonal table.
[Another to be wary of is the description of /v/ as labio-dental