Re: [tied] Re: uvular R

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 7742
Date: 2001-06-25

Of course the apical rhotic that is essential to a passable English accent is the untrilled continuant (written as upside-down "r" in IPA) -- that is, unless your chosen model is a slightly overdone variety of Scottish English. A brief course in practical phonetics often works miracles in apparently hopeless cases -- as I know from first-hand experience, having taught English and general phonetics to several groups of first-year students.
If "guttural" has a technical meaning at all, it means "concerning the back of the mouth or the throat", and refers to such places of articulation as velar, uvular, pharyngeal or glottal (these precise terms are of course preferable). In its popular non-technical meaning the word describes a vague range of auditory impressions and means something like "harsh, grating" or just "foreign-sounding, incomprehensible". I've often seen Polish and other Slavic languages described as "guttural" for God knows what reason. Dammit, despite my uvular [R] I don't get inordinately guttural even after a few vodkas ;-)
----- Original Message -----
From: tgpedersen@...
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2001 4:00 PM
Subject: [tied] Re: uvular R

One of the joys of being Danish is that I don't have to pronounce an apical /r/ which I am incapable of (at least the trilled version) for whatever reason; the closest I get is a right-side (dextro-?)lateral trill. Since I've never had to pronounce it before I learned English at school (at about the same time I started breaking fluorescent
tubes for fun on a nearby garbage dump) I don't know for certain when I acquired this incapability.

But I have wondered whether the to non-linguists so important concept of "guttural" has anything to do with it?