The famous "R" consonant !!

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

  1. Wicker808

    Wicker808 Well-Known Member

    I really must disagree stronly with Qcumber.

    The sound denoted by the Czech letter ř is not easy to pronounce, and is not the same as the common English pronunciation of the name Dvořák. As noted above, this name in English is pronounced Dvoržak. The sound ř is often described as consisting of a rolled r, plus the postalveolar fricative denoted by ž (and found in English words like "leisure") however these sounds are pronounced simultaneously, not sequentially. In Czech, ř is never pronounced as rž. Hearing and pronouncing the difference takes practice, although most native speakers do so quite automatically.

    Qcumber's proposed test to determine the identity of variously-written sounds is faulty. Recording various sounds in Czech and playing them to a French-speaking audience is not a valid method to determine if there is an audible distinction.

    In addition, the Spanish sound ll changes according to region, and I've heard that in some places it is pronounced similarly to a Spanish y. However, in most parts of Spain, as far as I know, all of Latin America, this is not that case, and in fact represents a sound not found in English. I recognize that Qcumber may not be able to notice the distinction, but this does not mean that the distinction is not there.

    And, no, Qcumber, there are no schwas in Czech at all.
  2. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Wicker wrote :
    You didn't understand. The recording should be done by a native speaker of Czech and played to native speakers of Czech.
  3. Wicker808

    Wicker808 Well-Known Member

    In that case a Czech person would certainly be able to differentiate between ř and rž.
  4. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Wicker, I'm afraid this is not a scientific approach. One must be objective and conduct the experiment. One shouldn't presume of the result of an experiment until it has been completed.
  5. Wicker808

    Wicker808 Well-Known Member

    Fine. Let me know how it goes.
  6. Winter

    Winter Member

    Wow.... I never imagined I would have gotten so many responses when I first started this thread last Fall !! This r consonant is an interesting "beast".

    Just to recap.... A74 said earlier on that after a few beer, you will be able to say the R (with hacek) properly. Well guess what? I tried it and it worked! It really first I though it was a joke. But after this "experiment", I got the R with hacek sound down pat (okay) and still am able to say it ....even without the beer now! Is this strange or what?? :D

    Way to go A74 !!

    Earlier on I said ALL native English speakers can say the TH sound....I may have been too fast to say that....In my country Canada, alot of Newfoundlanders on the east coast say "D" instead of the proper "TH". Not all of them say D, to be fair, but somany do. I don't know really if they are 'lazy' in their pronunciation or maybe they just can't say it. But the rest of us Canadians (I live in Ontario) and to my knowledge all USA citizens can say TH properly.

    NOW....any good tongue twisters with the R with hacek ??? :roll:

  7. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    I've heard the Spanish "LL" pronounced as the English "y", "zh" (or Czech "ž"), "j" (or Czech "dž") or something between the last two, but, I've never heard "ly" (and I've heard most of the major [regional] dialects). Qcumber, where have you heard this pronunciation?
  8. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    As for Dvořák, most Americans pronounce this even worse than has been suggested. Most will pronounce this as Dvorak, with an unrolled "r" and using the short "a" sound not found in Czech. Of course, then again, most Americans will probably just say, "Who??" :)
  9. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

    Czech native speakers will definitely be able to differentiate between ř and rž, especially as there is a Czech word containing the combination of consonants rž - "ržát" or "ržání". Besides, we are rather sensitive to the correct pronunciation of r and ř (see the example of our ex-president Václav Havel).
  10. uuspoiss

    uuspoiss Well-Known Member

    Someone should come up with a machine... Something like the ones people use to tune musical instruments. It would listen to your pronounciation of "ř" and show a green light and sound an applause if you've got it right, but a red light and an ugly quack otherwise.

    Listening to Czech radio and the recordings that come with textbooks, I can pick up quite different pronounciations of "ř" by native speakers though. So there probably isn't just one and absolutely correct way of saying it, right?
  11. idemtidem

    idemtidem Well-Known Member

    Excellent point! I think the difference is that if you say "rž", the r is rolled. However, "ř" isn't pronounced that way at all.

    I would be careful with this kind of statement as not everybody who is a citizen of the USA is a native speaker.
  12. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    ly is the standard pronunciation of Spanish LL. :)
    Spanish LL = Czech LJ
  13. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Jana :
    Exciting. :) Yet, one word is not enough. You need two words to have a contrastive pair. This is the reason why I suggested to create artificial words for the experiment. These artificial words could be presented as names.

    Using what you said, we could start with the pair řát Vs ržát.

    Now, be careful, if, in the case of ržát, you can hear a kind of vowel sound after the r, it is a schwa. If so the two consonants are separated by a vowel, even if the vowel is not written.

    The best would be to have ř and rž in the middle of a word, e.g. [artificial words] ařak Vs aržak.
  14. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

    You can try "vyřídit" x "viržinko"...
    Still I think the distinction is so much obvious that no test is necessary, at least my students (English and American ones) never had any problems to hear the difference.
  15. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Thanks a lot, Jana, unfortunately the two words do not make a contrastive pair : the endings are different so a listener will immediately know which is which.
    Anyway, I give up, and will turn to other topics. Thanks a lot everybody for your answers.
  16. szarkafarka

    szarkafarka Well-Known Member

    "marží" (by margin) x "maří" (he mars)

    The difference is phonemic.
  17. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Yes, this is a good contrastive pair, Szarkafarka. Thanks a lot. Now, if you are in Czechia, this is how to proceed.
    1) Make a random list of the two words repeated several times.
    2) Have the list recorded by a Czech person without telling them what the purpose of the operation is.
    3) Play the tape to another Czech person who was not present during the recording, asking them to write down the terms as though it were a dictation.
    4) Compare your list with the result of the dictation.

    If the two lists tally, then it is not a matter of spelling.
    If they don't, then it is a matter of spelling.
    Of course the experiment must be conducted seriously and in a scientific way.
  18. A74

    A74 New Member

    Happy to hear this :) Very good job!
  19. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

    What about: "Mařenko, řekni řízek!" "Neřeknu, vy byste se mi řehtali."
    (I guess you already know the famous "Třistatřiatřicet stříbrných stříkaček stříkalo přes třistatřiatřicet stříbrných střech" or a similar one "Třistatřiatřicet stříbrných křepelek přeletělo přes třistatřiatřicet stříbrných střech".)
  20. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

    Some more tongue twisters:

    Kmotře Petře, nepřepepřete mi toho vepře, jak mi, kmotře Petře, toho vepře přepepříte, tak si toho přepepřeného vepře sám sníte.

    Přišel za mnou jeden Řek, a ten mi řek, abych mu řek, kolik je v Řecku řeckých řek. A já mu řek, že nejsem Řek, abych mu řek, kolik je v Řecku řeckých řek.

    Řehoř Řehořovič řeže řeřichu.

    Řežu a žeru, řežeš a žereš, žerou a řežou, žeru a řežu, žereš a řežeš, řežou a žerou.

    „O, kdybys ty lyžaři nezalyžařivší si sis zalyžoval, byl bys zalyžařivší si lyžař!”

    Good luck!

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