dog's letter

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jan 8 15:59:52 UTC 2008

At 3:46 PM +0000 1/8/08, Tom Zurinskas wrote:
>The below from Wordsmith
>dog's letter (dogz LET-uhr) noun   =       The letter R.
>[From Latin littera canina, literally dog's letter. In Latin the sound
>of the letter R was trilled. Think Grrr! of a snarling dog. A good example
>of a trilling R is none other that the Spanish word for a dog: perro.]
>Is "grrrr" the right kind of trill?
>Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL5+

I wondered about that too when I saw the Wordsmith post.  Presumably
the dog's trill is uvular (as in standard French or German, although
those are sometimes flaps if I'm not mistaken), while the Spanish one
(and I assume its Latin precursor) is dental.  I've heard dogs in
Spain, and even they don't use a dental growl.  But I guess a rhotic
is a rhotic.


The American Dialect Society -

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