velar trill (was: ~Yeshuewu)

Herb Stahlke hfwstahlke at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jun 9 03:07:29 UTC 2009

There is no IPA symbol for the sound.  Apparently IPA covers only
terrestrial languages.


On Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 10:14 PM, Paul A Johnston,
Jr.<paul.johnston at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Paul A Johnston, Jr." <paul.johnston at WMICH.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: velar trill (was: ~Yeshuewu)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Dear All,
> Actually, I got it too.  It seems fricated when I do it, but there's definitely a trill possible there, using what flexibility there is in the tongue at that point.  Sounds related to an /x/, but quite different from an /R/.  Wonder if there's an IPA symbol.
> Paul Johnston
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Mark Mandel <thnidu at GMAIL.COM>
> Date: Monday, June 8, 2009 8:31 pm
> Subject: velar trill (was: ~Yeshuewu)
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------
>> ------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Mark Mandel <thnidu at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      velar trill (was: ~Yeshuewu)
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------
>> ------------
>> On Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 7:53 PM, Herb Stahlke
>> <hfwstahlke at> wrote:
>> >
>> > Mark,
>> >
>> > I can't get a trill there. Â Could you describe what you're
>> producing?>
>> > I'll have to read more Cherryh.
>> >
>> > Herb
>> It took a lot of experimentation and practice, mostly while
>> driving to
>> work. (A little while ago, while I was writing the previous post, my
>> wife and daughter both decided they'd had enough and left the room.
>> It's not a pretty sound!)  I'll try to describe how to get it:
>> - Place the dorsum of the tongue against the front of the velum, as
>> for a fronted [k]. For me this is approx. as in "cute".
>> - Retract the tongue slightly (a couple of mm?) toward its root while
>> keeping the same velar point of contact, sliding the tongue backward
>> across that spot. If you produced a stop now, it would sound like a
>> backed palatal.
>> - Now tense the tongue where it touches the velum, and lax it forward
>> of that point.
>> - Pulmonically force breath out through the closure. For me,
>> especially when developing the sound, it took a good deal of
>> effort to
>> keep the closure tight enough to produce a trill, and a corresponding
>> effort to force the breath through. I couldn't do it more than a few
>> times without stopping to rest. Like [x] for an American English
>> speaker, it got easier with practice.
>> Mostly I use it at science-fiction events; my daughter, when I produce
>> it elsewhere, refers to it as "laughing in kifish to freak the
>> mundanes". ("Mundane" is fannish slang for 'non-fan'.) The "actual"
>> sound, I think, is a fast chattering of the kif inner set of teeth,
>> anatomically impossible for humans.
>> --
>> Mark Mandel
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society -
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list