[Tibeto-burman-linguistics] palatalized R or fricativized R?

Chris Button chris.button at hotmail.com
Sat Feb 14 16:46:28 UTC 2015

Sorry - I forgot to add one thing.
A Northern Chin association of j with z, or hooked z, is discussed on p.26.

From: chris.button at hotmail.com
To: elissa.ikeda at gmail.com; tibeto-burman-linguistics at listserv.linguistlist.org
Subject: RE: [Tibeto-burman-linguistics] palatalized R or fricativized R?
Date: Sat, 14 Feb 2015 11:42:45 -0500

Hi Elissa
In Northern Chin there is an association with frictivization but it is all towards the back as uvular or velar articulations (see p.19, and in particular p.24, here: http://stedt.berkeley.edu/pubs_and_prods/STEDT_Monograph10_Proto-Northern-Chin.pdf
In Modern Burmese r and j are pronounced the same in initial and medial position. For some historical context behind this you can check out p.42-43 and 46 in the above article. The association of r with j in Old Chinese was via an intermediary lateral stage (see p.62)
Hope that helps!
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2015 09:15:19 +0700
From: elissa.ikeda at gmail.com
To: tibeto-burman-linguistics at listserv.linguistlist.org
Subject: [Tibeto-burman-linguistics] palatalized R or fricativized R?


I've observed two interesting types of r-sound in the languages I've been working with.  I believe they may be more widespread in the linguistic area and I'm wondering if others can add to the list of languages where these may appear.

1)  Palatalized r-sound.  This sounds a bit like an /r/ and /j/ mixed together.  I have acoustic evidence from Nusu that shows cross-dialect difference between your typical approximant r and a palatalized variant.  Acoustic comparison across words shows that there is a difference between the palatalized r and the palatal approximant /j/.   Diachronic and synchronic variation in other TB languages show relationship between /r/ and /j/ and I wonder if this sort of palatalized r may sometimes facilitate that transition.

2)  Fricativized r-sound.  This sounds similar to hooked z [ʐ], and I've seen it transcribed that way, but I believe that it is not always a true sibilant. A fricativized r can be produced by bringing the tongue closer to the palate and creating turbulence, but a sibilant goes a bit farther when the teeth are brought together to create a secondary obstruction.  Acoustically, the fricativized r shows the greatest energy in the middle frequencies (around 1500-2000 HZ), while sibilants typically have the greatest energy in the higher frequencies (above 3000 HZ)  Acoustic data from Nusu shows the fricativized r occuring before high vowels /i/ and /u/, which is the same environment where we see fricativization of other glides /j/ and /w/ in languages in this area.  Coupe describes the voiced and voiceless r in Mongsen Ao as having fricative qualities.  Matisoff mentioned it in connection with Dayang Pumi clusters.  I've also observed it in Laemae (Bijiang Bai) and the Nujiang variety of Trung (Dulong).  Diachronic and synchronic data from TB languages show a relationship between /r/ and sibilant fricatives (dentalveolar, retroflex, and palatal), and indeed, I have seen speaker and dialect variation on the word for 'stomach, belly' in Laemae (Bijiang Bai) that shows all of the following variants: palatalized-r, fricativized-r, retroflex fricative sibilant /ʐ/, and voiced dental sibilant /z/.

If you have heard either of these sounds in a language you are working on, I'd appreciate hearing about it.  I'm trying to add Tibeto-Burman evidence to the argument for more comprehensive transcription conventions for rhotics.  



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