Re: [tied] Sanskrit /r/

From: Danny Wier
Message: 8838
Date: 2001-08-29

I've been reading up on Dravidian phonology lately, and I had a question to myself about the retroflex continuant (Tamil voiced retroflex fricative, Malayalam retroflex approximant).  Though it is commonly translated as l-underscore, implying an alveolar lateral, it is really a retroflex rhotic and should be represented as one of the alternatives, r with two dots below.  So at least South Dravidian (except modern Kannada) has three r's.
Hindi and other I-A languages, on the other hand, have three letters commonly shown as rhotics: the "real r" and the plain and aspirated (murmured?) retroflex flaps that come from Skt d. and d.h.
My guess is that Sanskrit /r/ is an alveolar tap, less likely a trill.
[Piotr wrote:]
I also agree that Old Indo-Aryan /r/ is not likely to have been fully retroflex in the technical sense; I only propose that it had a more retracted and more vowel-like articulation in non-prevocalic positions. By the way, Dravidian languages often have more than one "rhotic" phonemes, and in many modern Indo-Aryan languages there are two (an alveolar tap/trill contrasting with a retroflex flap) -- so the peninsula offers more than the "ordinary" rhotic :)