dog's letter

Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 9 04:23:24 UTC 2008

Of interest to me is:

1.  Did Latin of old have a trilled r?
2.  Was the trill a growl like a dog's growl, thus the nickname "dog's letter" for letter r?
3.  How is a dog growl done?  I would think a growl comes from down in the throat; perhaps the vocal chords or false vocal chords.  I don't think the tongue is involved.  This type sound is in vogue especially for "r" in California.  It indicates a very relaxed attitude.  Actually a power thing.  It indicates that the person is so relaxed that they are in control, superiour, not bothered or uptight; fey.
4.  Is there phonetic notation to indicate this growly "r".?

Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL5+
See - and the 4 truespel books plus "Occasional Poems" at

> Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 12:13:40 -0500
> From: cdoyle at UGA.EDU
> Subject: Re: dog's letter
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Charles Doyle
> Subject: Re: dog's letter
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> And in New York City dogs (if there are any) say [g^], as they do in Boston (if there are any) and The South (where there are many).
> --Charlie
> ____________________________________________________________
> Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 10:59:52 -0500
> Reply-To: American Dialect Society
> From: Laurence Horn
> Subject: Re: dog's letter
> 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. Presumabl 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.
> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

Put your friends on the big screen with Windows Vista® + Windows Live™.

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list