LINGUIST List 13.222

Mon Jan 28 2002

Qs: British vs American Eng, Spread of Uvular /r/

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  1. Alain Th�riault, British vs American English phonology/phonetics
  2. Mikael Parkvall, Spread of uvular /r/

Message 1: British vs American English phonology/phonetics

Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002 08:01:11 -0500 (EST)
From: Alain Th�riault <alain.theriaultUMontreal.CA>
Subject: British vs American English phonology/phonetics

Dear List Members
Would any of you know of papers, or web pages, that give a complete,
or partial, comparative description of the phonology of British and
American English. I want to make a speech sythetyser speek like CNN
from a list of BBC like pronunciations and I have a feeling that there
are regular conversions that can be made.

I'll sum up, of course


Alain Theriault
Ph.D. Student (Linguistics)
Universite de Montreal
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Message 2: Spread of uvular /r/

Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002 14:17:02 +0100
From: Mikael Parkvall <>
Subject: Spread of uvular /r/

The spread of uvular /r/ throughout much of western Europe during the
past couple of centuries has often been commented on. It seems,
however, that the nature of this spread is less well understood than I
thought it would be. Despite scattered documentation, there is
seemingly not enough for a complete picture to emerge. The usual
assumption is that Paris is the centre of innovation, although a
German origin has also been suggested. If Paris is indeed the place of
origin, the direction of expansion is somewhat unusual, in that
Denmark was conquered before any other country was. In general, the
spread appears to have been much faster to the north-east than in any
other direction. And if the late 18th century is indeed when the
feature first ventured outside Paris, the speed is remarkable, to say
the least, given that the front-line went through central Sweden only
slightly more than a century later.

These obeservations call, I think, for a more detailed scrutiny of the
uvular success story. I would therefore like to hear about when the
uvular /r/ was first observed in various locations in Europe (France,
Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Portugal, etc) and
places outside Europe, where its occurrence is presumably causally
linked to the European developments (South Africa, Canada, Israel,


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Mikael Parkvall
Institutionen f�r lingvistik
Stockholms Universitet
(rum 276)
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