The famous "R" consonant !!

Discussion in 'Grammar & Pronunciation' started by Winter, Sep 24, 2004.

  1. jarda9

    jarda9 Member

    there are many many czechs who are not able to pronunciate "r s hackem" properly although they listen to it and speak it everyday. :wink: try to imitate it, because there isnt any suplement for this "sound", but in fact it doesnt really matter the quality of rrrzzrhhhhhhh:) i remember me hearing "the" at the first time, i thought the person spits at me and i was wondering how can english language has as stupid sound and till now i am not good at speaking this article;) a parallel:)
  2. Winter

    Winter Member

    That seems so strange that some (many?) native Czech speakers can't pronounce this 'r' (with the hacek) .......On a parallel, to my knowledge. all native English speakers can pronounce the 'th' sounds as in: the, that, throw, thwart, thistle, etc.

    So how is this 'r' with hacek pronounced by the native Czechs who say it improperly?? Is it pronouced like a regular 'r' ?? :?:
  3. jarda9

    jarda9 Member

    if Czech cannot spell "r s hackem" properly, it sounds the most like "shr" but a bit harder, accented.
    this spelling problem have usually people who dont speak loudly, because this consonant needs a bunch of strength in tongue:)
  4. A74

    A74 New Member

    When I was a small kid I had problems to pronounce this letter correctly - so they putted me in some special course (I tought I am retarded so I tried hard to say it as fast as possible and get out of there).

    I rememeber how they first showed me how to say correctly R without hacek - a tongue makes two moves in your month while saying R:
    First move of tongue is same as letter T and second move is same as letter D. Up and down. T(up) in same as in word travel, D(down) same as in word Doors.
    If you try(I see you all now trying T and D in your office hehe) you can notice these moves - and this is that mystery - T and D have to change to R.
    Start slowly and then increase speed of TDTDTDTDTDTDTDTDTDTDTDTDTD .... and don't think too much and continue and after a while you can say clear czech R.

    When you are able to pronounce like this, just put more air to make something as gentle whistling sound going throught your mouth and make this TD TD TD TD TD TD.

    It is hard to describe even face to face. :) Best practise is in some nice pub with good friends - after four beers you will say it - believe me - then you drink more because you are happy to say R with hacek and next day morning you don't remember anything again... you know life is hard :D

    I found that the best qualifications for this high mystery teaching have Irish, Scottish, Australians and English... :)
  5. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    I have no problem pronouncing this R because it represents two sounds : the easy-to-produce rolled R followed by the ZH (J) as in French _jeune_ "young". I also noticed that ZH becomes SH (the corresponding unvoiced sound) when it is followed by another unvoiced consonant.
  6. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Are you sure? In London I heard native Londoners who couldn't pronounce the two THs properly.
  7. Wicker808

    Wicker808 Well-Known Member

    When learning this sound, I invented a phrase, which I practiced saying until it became easy:

    Dvořák řekl, že potřebuje kuře.
  8. czechchris

    czechchris Well-Known Member

    I have found the ř fairly easy to pronounce after much practice. On a train from Slovakia to Prague, a young woman with whom my wife and I got into conversation suggested the word 'řeřicha' as a practice word. I still find that one difficult!

    The tongue-twisters have helped, too, in pronouncing it.

    I am much encouraged in my Czech speaking, in that many of my Czech friends say that I speak like a native, with no discernible English accent. I have been asked if my father was Czech (I think I have an eastern European look too!)

    So pronunciation is not a problem - where I fall down is grammar!

    BTW- when helping Czech and Slovak friends with their English "th" sound, I made up the following:
    "Three things I think, and then no other;
    This one, that one and the other"
  9. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Well, one could start with the name of the famous Czech composer Antonin DvoRak : dvor-zhak. Everybody can pronounce it.
    Don't let you be told tales that this R is a special sound bla, bla bla. It is made up of two sounds R+ZH.
    By comparison, if you have to teach the English sound CH to a person who hasn't got it in their language, the best is to tell them it is T+SH (two sounds), not to tell them it is a special sound. Similarly Ñ in Spanish is just N+Y etc. 8)
  10. szarkafarka

    szarkafarka Well-Known Member

    It is a rough approximation. The Czech ř is neither r+zh nor r+sh, unless you define the plus operator in phonology. Also English ny in canyon is not Spanish n-tilde.
  11. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Try "přiřknout." Two ř's in the same syllable!
  12. czechchris

    czechchris Well-Known Member

    I jutht did, an now my tung ith thtuck!!!!
  13. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Well, Szarkafarka, make some recordings of short sentences having N+Y and Ñ, isolate these with the associated vowel in the syllable, and ask someone to listen and say if they can hear a difference.
    Do the same this with R hatchek and r + zh etc and you 'll see that people cannot make the difference.
    Of course the same voice must have recorded both items, and the vowel must be the same.
  14. idemtidem

    idemtidem Well-Known Member

    This is so not true. The way they pronounce it in the US is the WRONG way. Are you a native speaker? Cause I am, and I can tell you...they got it wrong.
  15. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    If the first time they hear it, it is mispronounced (e.g. dee-vo-rak :lol: ) then, of course, they will repeat the mispronunciation.
    This reminds me of the Welsh LL. Everybody was telling me it was an extremely difficult sound to utter. I had a Welshman say a few words that contained it, and realized that it was simply the equivalent TH+L, with TH as in "thin and thin".
  16. idemtidem

    idemtidem Well-Known Member

    I wish I could hear your version of the consonant to see whether you say it right or not. You make it sound way too easy.
  17. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Often spelling makes things look difficult. Besides some people like to say their language has a special sound that no foreigner can articulate.

    Take the Spanish LL. If you read some books, according to the authors, it is something very unusual that requires some special training. Actually it's only L+Y, with many speakers dropping the L, e.g. llama "flame" is pronounced [lyama] in standard Spanish, but [yama] in some varieties of Spanish.
  18. idemtidem

    idemtidem Well-Known Member

    While I basically agree with what you're saying, I still think that's you're oversimplifying it a bit. Yes, the sounds are pretty much like what you've described yet they wouldn't sound exactly right to the native speaker (and I do realize that it doesn't really matter at all that they don't sound exactly the same way as long as you can get the message across).

    Also, I don't think that people make claims about their special sounds based on nothing. They speak from not many foreigners can say those sounds right.
  19. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Well I have a good example of such a claim. I was once in Anvers /Antwerpen, discussing with a Flemish, and he claimed that only Dutch-speaking people could articulate SCH as in _schip_ "ship". He wrote the term and read it a couple of times challenging me to repeat it. I did. It was no big deal: it was just S+CH, CH as in German _Bach_.

    Many French people will tell you that _gn_+vowel and _ni_ + vowel are different. Yet both are pronounced [nj]. There is even a slang word that has the two spellings : gnôle / niôle "spirits [drink]".

    To come back to the point, if you are a native speaker of Czech, coin pairs of artificial words : one with r hacheck, the other with r z hachek - the vowels, the other consonants and the stress patterns being the same - and see if they can be distinguished. For instance have them recorded by one person, and play it to another asking the latter to write the new words down.

    Now, it is possible that when you have r + z hacheck, a neutral vowel (schwa) is automatically inserted after the r. If such is the case, it will mean that r hacheck is the spelling convention to indicate that no schwa can be inserted.
  20. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Sova :
    By the way, isn't there an unwritten schwa (a short neutral vowel) between p and ř?

Share This Page