The famous "R" consonant !!

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

  1. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    No doubt the English expressions are calques of the Latin ones or the French ones: accent aigu, accent grave, accent circonflexe, but I do assure you they are used in English, at least by specialists. :)
  2. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Qcumber, Zeisig,

    In English, we use the words grave, acute, and circumflex, and yes, they are commonly used among linguists and learners of foreign languages in the US.
  3. TitTornade

    TitTornade New Member

    I'm delighted that my note about the vowels is talked by several of you.
    I was exactly thinking about the words "hot", "hat" or "hut". It is almost impossible for me to distinguish these words without the context...
    It seems to my ears that every sounds is between several french vowels... or a mix of them...

    To be back with czech language, it is exactly as czech "y". In the beginners' phrasebook for French speakers, it is indicated that there is no difference between czech "i" and "y"...

    They say : just pronounce it as french "i" (something about short English "ee"). When I listen to czech "y" : I hear a mix between french "é" (I think there's no equivalent in English ; but something as "e" in german "Weg" or in spanish "queso"), french "u" (something as German "ü" ou "ue" in "über") and a little french "i" (English short "ee"). So, as I don't hear clearly the sound, I can not reproduce it... So, impossible for me to have the right accent.

    I completely agree with Ceit who confirm this in explaining us her (his) greatfather accent never disappeared.

    About the vowels, even french people don't use the same sounds for the same vowels (each region as its own accent). Most of the times the context helps a guy from Paris to understand a guy from Marseille. But the first one can have two different way to pronounce a sound : one very open and the other very close ; and the second can just say a vowel very open or very close or a mean of the two sounds...

    I mean : in some region "j'irai" (I will go) and "j'irais" (I would go) are pronounced exactly the same (zhee-ray : in fact "ray" is not a diphtong, but close to French "R"+"e" as in "get" : I don't know how to write it...). In my region, we distinguish "j'irai" / "j'irais" : the first "ai" is a very closed "e" (as in "get") and the second is a very open "e"...
    Some friend of mine are completely deaf to these difference... Though there are French... Vowels are more difficult to "master" than consonant ;-)

    To come again to the "r with hacek" and chinese retroflex as in "renmin ribao" : a friend of mine tried to teach me chinese... Once I understood the tones were too complicated for me (I should live over there for several years to practice...), I stopped !! Hihihi !

    But I can remember that he tried to explained me that french "j" (as english "zh" as in measure", or, I think, as czech "z with hacek") is not at all the chinese "r" in "ren". My tongue should be turned back to my palate to say "ren"... After each course, my tongue was as a big knot !!
    So, is there something common between chinese "ren" and "r with hacek" ? Is there any czechman who speaks chinese ?

    Sova : here is a French sentence I prepared for my vietnamese friend " une grosse grenouille grasse grimpe au grenier". Try to improve... For French people : no problem to says this... For foreigners : it can be very difficult...
  4. Ladis

    Ladis Well-Known Member

    Very interesting TitTornade, I haven't known such things about the French language. "j'irai" (I will go) and "j'irais" (I would go) are very similar for me even in the written form :shock:. In Czech, when you "read fast" (you don't want to give more time for reading some text), you don't read the word endings (you skip them) (since you can "generate them simultaneously with reading" in your brain when you understand the context the word is used in). And this tactic with skipping the word endings wouldn't work for French :) ("j'irai" and "j'irais" differ only in the last letter).

    These words are simple for Czechs, I think, since we can say, there can be a "conversion table" between English and Czech vowels: 'o' -> 'o', 'u' -> 'a' ("hut") or 'u' ("union" = "junion" when I mean the Czech 'j' (corresponds to English 'y'), "simultaneously" - in Czech, I can take 'ou' as 'o' + 'u' :)), 'oo' -> 'ů' (long 'u' - "spoon" = "spůn" :)) or 'a' ("blood" = "blad" - an exception), 'a' -> 'e' ("cat" = "ket" :D), ... For an amusement - here you have an "English" translation of one short Czech text, but it's written using the Czech pronunciation :lol: (that page is a parody to loser game developer teams).

    So it's easy for Czechs to differ among "hot", "hat" and "hut" - we "hear" it as "hot", "het" and "hat" :). However I know that we Czechs have different accent because of this simplifying.
  5. Zeisig

    Zeisig Well-Known Member

    Ladis, it is not so simple and easy as you have claimed.

    You have omitted that we cannot easily distinguish pairs like set x sat, bet x bat, lend x land, etc.

    Also the American "hot" is too similar to the "hut" (at least for my ears).

    So it isn't easy for Czechs to differ among "hot" x "hut" and "hat" x "het".
  6. Kanadanka

    Kanadanka Well-Known Member

    To anyone learning the "Retroflex trilled alveolar affaricate" (R with hacek), try
    Tri tisice trista tricet tri stribrnych strikacek strikalo pres tri tisice trista tricet tri stribrnych strech"
  7. Kanadanka

    Kanadanka Well-Known Member

    oopd, I really should proof-read before I post, I meant " retroflexed" and "affricate"
  8. mravenec

    mravenec Well-Known Member

    I think we agreed to call ř a trilled fricative. Retroflex sounds are sounds like the d and t in Indian English, with the tongue bent slightly backward.

    But who cares, really??
  9. Kanadanka

    Kanadanka Well-Known Member

    well, you obviously care, since you woudn't bother "correcting" me otherwise. Actually according to my phonology prof, it is retroflexed since the tongue-tip is positioned posteriorly :)
  10. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Is the tongue positioned for <ř> as for the retroflexes of Sanskrit: [ʈ] ट, [ʈh] ट, [ɖ] ड, [ɖh] ढ, [ɳ] ण ? I thought it was just in the forward position as for [r] and [ʒ].
  11. mravenec

    mravenec Well-Known Member

    I suppose I was insinuating that most people might not care about what ř is as long they can pronounce it...
    I'm quite sure your prof is wrong, he probably assumes ř is a sequence of [r] and [?] (ie affricate), which is quite common even among phonologists, but nevertheless wrong. I have never seen ř described as retroflex... :shock:
  12. Kanadanka

    Kanadanka Well-Known Member

    I'll make sure to tell him. One never stops learning, it seems...
  13. capponilos

    capponilos Member

    The R with hacek could possibly be similar to the RR sound in the north of Argentina... hold on... yes... it's true!!!! I didn't notice it before!!!! now I can say it easily!! OH; THANKS GOD!
  14. capponilos

    capponilos Member

    I've heard that we are 27 countries (spanish speaking), and each one has its own pronunciation. In Uruguay they say š-ž when LL or Y before vowel. In some areas of Mexico, and Cuba, and even in Spain too. However, even in Argentina, the 70% of inhabitants use J and LJ sound for LL or Y before vowel... What's for me, I use š, I am from Buenos Aires. In Buenos AIres, if you are in the capital city, you'll listen Ž, and as farer you get from center, as closer and closer it gets to Š. Just 60 km far, and it's a different pronunciation.
  15. diamondwhite

    diamondwhite New Member

    hi to everyone, im new here, and getting help with R hacek is one of the main reasons i decided to be a member of this site. i fell in love with the language as soon as i heard it spoken, unfortunately the letter R hacek is very unforgiving and learning to pronounce it has become a nightmare :( if there is anyone out there who can help me pronounce this letter id be prepared to pay!my contact details are: or you can contact me on skype my user name is wladdracul
  16. GoodSirJava

    GoodSirJava Member

    Do we have any kind of agreement as to whether /r/, the voiced alveolar trill, is a prerequisite to r hacek?

    Foythamore, can someone (a) explain in great detail how to pronounce /r/, (b) explain in great detail how they learned to pronounce /r/ after the critical period, or (c) link to some resources that explain in great detail how to pronounce /r/?

    I consider /r/ to be very difficult, the most beautiful sound in human language, and severely important in a lot of the languages I'm interested in learning, like Italian and Russian.
  17. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

  18. doman

    doman Well-Known Member

    Hey thanks for the link, Eso ! It's was my favorite movie when I was a child accidentally 8) :D
  19. Karel_lerak

    Karel_lerak Well-Known Member

    When my daughter was 4, she could not pronounce "ř". After spending a week with her boy-cousin she came with perfect "Řezník Řimbaba řízl se do řiti" 8)
  20. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    A know a girl (17years old) that can't pronounce ordinary [r]. But when she was going home with her friend and someone called her, she exclaimed a vulgar curse with such a perfect alveolar trill that an experienced ear could even count its flaps :D

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