OT: Was Latin /r/ trilled?

A. Maberry maberry at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Mon Apr 7 16:44:07 UTC 2003

>From Roland G. Kent's Sounds of Latin: a descriptive and historical
phonology (1932):

"no.59 R was a voiced liquid, trilled with the tip of the tongue behind
the teeth while the sides of the tongue touched the palate. The roughness
of the sound of r accounts for the avoidance of two successive r's by
dissimilative change, as in late 'pelegrinus' (Fr. pelerin, pilgrim) for
peregrinus, and by dissimilative loss, as in late "propietas" for
"proprietas". R befor consonants and final was weak, perhaps as in
English, and was occasionally omitted in writing."

maberry at u.washington.edu

On Mon, 7 Apr 2003, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:

> >I've been asked whether the ancient Romans trilled the sound /r/.
> It seems to be a popular notion that they did. This is what I was taught in
> my ('classical', not ecclesiastical) Latin course, back in the day ...
> although pronunciation with English-type "r" was usual (and tolerated) in
> practice. Several Web sites assert this ('alveolar trill', I think they say
> usually ... generally likened to the "r" ("rr") in Spanish or to the "r" in
> Italian).
> I can't find any reasoning supporting the assertion, in a brief glance at
> immediately available general reference books and Web sites: is it just a
> guess based on the later Romance languages?
> -- Doug Wilson

More information about the Ads-l mailing list