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The "r" sound
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CEJ



Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2005 10:34 pm    Post subject: more info. on the topic of /r/ Reply with quote

Sorry, I couldn't recover the original articles, so I've posted how I got to cached or html versions. It supports the findings about timing and magnitude of the gestures involving /r/ word initially, medially and finally/post-vocallically.

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Materials

The corpus of 460 sentences provides examples of /r/ in many prosodic, sentential, lexical and segmental contexts, but there are no repetitions. All speakers spoke the same sentences, so cross-speaker comparisons can be easier than cross-contextual comparisons, which exhibit a great deal of token-to-token variability. Enumeration and evaluation of the contexts containing intervocalic /r/ led us to choose a context in which /r/ was likely to be preceded by a weak vowel. In most cases it was also followed by one.

Onset: Word-initial prevocalic /r/ following weak vowel
Ambi: Word-final prevocalic /r/ following weak vowel (potentially ambi)
As a control, two rhotic speakers from the USA were examined (faet & mjjn). In addition to onset and ambisyllabic /r/, it was possible to investigate obligatory coda /r/ for these speakers, though this /r/ was not intervocalic.

Coda: Word-final pre-consonantal or pre-pausal /r/ following weak vowel
The subjects were three non-rhotic speakers from England (fsew, msak & maps).

Annotation was done in MATLAB using Wrenchfs enhanced version of Nguyenfs EMAtools. Annotation points were identified using the tangential velocity of coils attached to the lower lip gLLh, tongue tip (about 7-10mm behind the tip) gTTh and tongue dorsum (about 3-4cm posterior to the TT coil) gTDh. The time of the minima was recorded, along with x and y positions of the relevant coil. Locations at peak velocities in and out of the /r/ constriction were also recorded. (See xy charts in results section.)

In this example of onset /r/, the TT speed min (middle) indicating target attainment precedes both the LL min (top) and the TD min (bottom).

An EMA study of [r]
in non-rhotic English

Introduction

Previous instrumental work on prosodically-conditioned consonant allophony has adopted a distinction between two types of articulatory gesture. More radical constrictions are known as consonantal gestures. Less radical gestures are known as vocalic gestures. For example, a retroflex /r/ may have a front lingual consonantal constriction and labial and tongue-back vocalic gestures.

In predictable ways, the syllabic context of a consonant alters the magnitude of these gestures to different degrees, and alters their relative timing. It seems that it is in onsets that consonantal gestures exhibit their characteristically large magnitude. They tend to be early relative to the smaller magnitude vocalic gestures. In codas, vocalic gestures have relatively greater magnitude and they are the ones which tend to be timed early, relative to the gesturally-weakened consonantal gestures.

Intervocalic consonants are often characterised as being ambisyllabic when phonological and phonetic criteria do not uniquely specify them as being onsets or codas. Gick (1999) claims ambisyllabic allophones will display articulatory patterns intermediate between the onset and coda extremes.

Word-final consonants alternate. In isolation, or before certain consonants, they are codas. But before a vowel (i.e. a vowel-initial word), they may have onset-like characteristics, so are often said to be ambisyllabic. In some cases, these post-lexical alternations become historically systematised, such that phonologists have analysed word-final consonants as being resyllabified from the citation-form coda to connected speech onset.

One such case is the r-sandhi of most varieties of non-rhotic (r-less) British English, in which car seat has no audible [r] but car engine does. According to traditional descriptions, this phenomenon is categorical in two respects: the linking /r/ in such analyses is an onset, and there is no /r/ in codas at all.

This connected speech alternation of /r/-final words is highly productive. It can be analysed as a syllabic constraint on the presence or absence of /r/. An articulatory analysis following Gick would be that word-final /r/ is in fact present in car seat, albeit with radically reduced consonantal gestures. Such an analysis captures similarities between the vocalic gestures of /r/ and the vowels that replace it when it is apparently deleted. On this view, linking /r/ is ambisyllabic. The consonantal gesture of word-final /r/ would be smaller in magnitude than word-initial onset /r/ in comparable phonetic contexts. Moreover, the inter-gestural timing of the C and V gestures would be different in onset /r/ and ambisyllabic linking /r/: vocalic gestures ought to be more advanced (relative to the consonantal gesture) in linking /r/. And finally, rhotic and non-rhotic English would differ by degree, not by type.

Pilot study using the MOCHA-TIMIT corpus

All sentences containing /r/ in the 460 sentence phonetically representative MOCHA-TIMIT corpus (Wrench and Hardcastle 2000) were evaluated for measurement. The corpus comprises acoustic, EPG, laryngographic and EMA data gathered from a range of accents of English (including L2 learners). As well as being a pilot study of r-sandhi (Mullooly in preparation), we intended to explore the utility of the corpus as a labphon linguistic research tool. Primarily designed as a speech technology tool, the corpus provides a wide variety of contextualised phones. It was very useful for examining EMA data of /r/ in different phonetic contexts and accents, and for studies of large effects, but less so for subtle phonetic differences.

Gick, Bryan (1999) A gesture based account of intrusive consonants in English, Phonology 16:29-54.

Mullooly (in preparation) An instrumental study of alternating [r] in non-rhotic English dialects. PhD Thesis, QMUC.

Wrench, Alan and Hardcastle, William J. (2000) A multichannel articulatory speech database and its application for Automatic Speech Recognition. Proceedings of the 5th Seminar on Speech Production: Models and Data & CREST Workshop on Models of Speech Production: Motor Planning and Articulatory Modelling. 305-308.

Richard Mullooly
James M. Scobbie
Alan A. Wrench

Examples of onset sentences

He will allow a rare lie.
A roll of wire lay near the wall.
Get a calico cat to keep the rodents away.
Chocolate and roses never fail as a romantic gift.
Good service should be rewarded by big tips.
Examples of ambisyllabic sentences

Swing your arm as high as you can.
Pizzerias are convenient for a quick lunch.
Are you looking for employment?
May I order a parfait after I eat dinner?
Jeff thought you argued in favour of a centrifuge.
Results

TT Retraction (location) The rhotic controls do have a difference in TT position conditioned by syllabification F(2,101)=3.74, p<0.05. There are no subject effects. Post-hoc tests show onset /r/ differs from coda /r/, but that ambisyllabic /r/ (which is intermediate) is not significantly distinct from either. No difference between onset /r/ and linking /r/ was detected for the non-rhotic subjects. All three differ from each other, however, in the absolute value of TT location (though msak and maps only differ in onset /r/.) For all subjects, variability is high, with onset /r/ varying most.

Among the non-rhotics, only msak shows a tendency for greater retraction in onset (below left). The wide lexical, segmental and prosodic variation in the materials may be responsible for this tendency being insignificant. His positional data seems similar to the rhotic speakers (below centre and right). But the other non-rhotic subjectsf tendency is the reverse. Further research with specialised materials is underway (Mullooly, in preparation).

We found no evidence that a residual TT gesture is present in cases where the /r/ is not audible in the non-rhotic speakers.

TD and LL position No differences due to syllabification were found.

Inter-articulator timing No timing differences were found with respect to syllabification. It is possible that the American speakers have an earlier TD gesture, perhaps indicative of a darker acoustic quality to their dialectsf /r/.

Summary

We examined the hypotheses that /r/ comprises consonantal and vocalic gestures and that they differ in their extent and relative timing in different syllable roles, by analysing EMA data from a phonetically varied corpus.
Two rhotic speakers gave partial support: /r/ has a stronger TT gesture in onset than in coda. Non-significant evidence of ambisyllabicity was found.
From the three non-rhotic subjects we tentatively infer that linking /r/ is in the onset, as traditional accounts suppose, and is not ambisyllabic. Alternatively, non-rhotic systems may show inter-speaker variation.
Labphon 2002

Definition of gretractionh

The distance from the fixed UI ref coil to the TT coil.

Number of tokens

Pooled rhotic speakers: onset n=31 ambi n=45, coda n=25

Pooled non-rhotic speakers: onset n=46, ambi n=63

Individual differences in appearance of linking /r/

Non-rhotic speaker fsew avoided linking /r/ on many occasions, providing only 10 tokens. This was not gradient gestural weakening, but stylistic avoidance of linking /r/. In these non-rhotic cases, TT was about 15mm anterior to an [r].

Intrusive /r/

The non-rhotic subjects have non-etymological sandhi (there is an [r] in draw it). The vowel contexts in the corpus did not permit analysis here. See Mullooly (in preparation).

Other observations

The non-rhotic subjectsf laterals alternate: the coda ones are vocalised and the ambisyllabic ones generally have contact.

Corpus and EMAtools are available to researchers

Contact awrench@qmuc.ac.uk

Examples of coda sentences

Movies never have enough villains.
Does Hindu ideology honour cows?
We apply auditory modelling to computer speech recognition.
Remember to allow identical twins to enter freely.
How ancient is this subway escalator?
Geminates etc.

We excluded (1) gemination, (2) ambiguity or (3) syllabic /r/. The articulatory analysis requires that non-rhotic English never contains word-final non-high vowels: All contain /r/.

brother repainted, after Rachel, barracuda recoiled
c</span><span style=" font-family: 'Times New Roman', 'Arial'; font-size: 4pt; font-weight: normal; font-style: italic; text-decoration: none;">orner off, her arrange
her early (US rhotics only)
Rhotic speakers

Non-rhotic speakers

http://66.218.69.11/search/cache?p=r+in+onset+r+in+coda&ei=UTF-8&fl=0&u=cla.calpoly.edu/%7Ejrubba/390/phonetics3.pdf&w=r+onset+r+coda&d=EQG5Kw0DMAql&icp=1&.intl=us

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Rubba - Phonetics and Phonology of English 19 Second syllable: / dL / Onset: / d /
Rhyme: Nucleus: / L / Coda: (none) Third syllable: / mEn / Onset: / m /
Rhyme: / En / Nucleus: / E / Coda: / n /
Fourth syllable: / tLl / Onset: / t /
Rhyme: / Ll / Nucleus: / L / Coda: / l /

Linguists often use tree diagrams to illustrate syllable structure. 'Flop', for example, would look like the diagram in Figure 2 (the word appears in PHONETIC symbols, not English
spelling). 's' = 'syllable'; 'O' = 'onset'; 'R' = 'rhyme'; 'N' = 'nucleus'; 'C' = 'coda'. The syllable node
at the top of the tree branches into Onset and Rhyme; the Onset node branches because it
contains two consonants, [ f ] and [ l ]. The Rhyme node branches because this syllable has both
a nucleus and a coda.

Figure 4: Tree diagram for syllable structure of flop










Syllable position is one factor used to differentiate consonants from vowels. As a general rule,
only vowels appear as syllable nuclei, while only consonants appear in the syllable margins
(onset and coda).

1.3.1 Liquids and nasals as syllable nuclei The English liquids [ r l ] and the nasals [ m n N ] can be the nuclei of syllables under certain conditions. [ r ] can be a nucleus as easily as a vowel, in any position: as the first sound in words
like early or earn; as the nucleus of the words 'bird', 'word', 'her', 'fur'; as the nucleus of the the
first syllable of 'perceive' and 'surname' and the final syllables of 'mother', 'actor' (in normal-
speed speech). There is no vowel in the pronunciation of these syllables, even though they have
one in the spelling. The liquid or nasal is sonorant enough to take the syllable-nucleus position,
so a vowel is not needed. [ l ] and the nasals [ m n ] become syllable nuclei when they follow an alveolar or palatal consonant in the last syllable of a word. This happens in the relaxed or casual rather than very s O R f l N C A p Rubba - Phonetics and Phonology of English 20 formal articulation of the word. Compare casual vs. formal pronunciations of 'button', 'bottle',
'bottom'. When one of these sounds is a syllable nucleus, this is shown in transcription by putting a very short vertical line under the phonetic symbol for the consonant, as shown in (4).

(4) [ r` l` n` m` ]
A word with a syllabic [ r ] as nucleus is bird:

(5) [ br`d ]
Here are some other words with syllabic consonants. These are heard in speech at normal speed,
not when the word is pronounced slowly.

(6) little / lItl` / button / btn` / mother / mDr` /
Note that you use the syllabic mark under the consonant only when it is the nucleus of the
syllable, not when it is in the onset or coda. To sum up, syllables are phonological units which bring segments (individual speech sounds) together into structured units which, in turn, build words. English words may consist of
one or more syllables. Syllables are structured according to a pattern, dividing first into onset and
rhyme. The onset may be occupied by one or more consonants. The rhyme, in turn, must have a
nucleus and may have a coda. The nucleus is most often a vowel, though English also allows
liquids and nasals as syllable nuclei; a syllable coda will be a consonant. The only obligatory
element is the nucleus; not all syllables have onsets or codas, and a syllable may have an onset
but no coda and vice versa. Syllable structure is important in various language phenomena. Certain poetic devices are based on similarity across parts of a wordfs syllables: in rhyme, the rhymes of the syllables
match, but the onsets are irrelevant, as in sing, thing, bling. In alliteration, the onsets (or the first
consonant in the syllable) match, while the rhymes are irrelevant, as in the tongue twister Peter
Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. Assonance is found when the vowels match across a line,
as in gmolten-golden notesh, from Edgar Allan Poefs The Bells. Only the nuclei of the syllables
matter in this case. Language games sometimes base their workings on syllable structure. Language games are a kind of play that arises spontaneously in a culture and often spreads. One such game is Pig
Latin. Most speakers of Pig Latin distort a word by cutting off its onset, then using at as the onset
for a syllable having the nucleus [e] eayf. This syllable is then tacked on to the end of the word.
Most speakers that I consult give [ak.ble] eack-blayf as the Pig Latin version of black ? notice
that the whole onset is cut off, not just the first sound [b].
1.3.2 Phonotactic constraints: Limits on syllable structure Suppose you are asked to create as many possible English words as you could with the three
sounds // (the vowel of ghuth), /p/, and /t/. Mathematically, there are six possible combinations, shown in 7.
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Superhal



Joined: 20 Feb 2005
Posts: 131

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I do is try to get them to do the "L" sound. If they can do the L, they can do R, and vice versa.

L -> R: Keep your tongue down, use more stress on your vocal chords like you are trying to sing a low note.

R -> L: Touch your tongue to the gum above your top teeth, and then lower it while making the "r." Then, use less vocal chords by trying to sing a high note.

Works well enough for me.
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CEJ



Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Superhal wrote:
What I do is try to get them to do the "L" sound. If they can do the L, they can do R, and vice versa.

L -> R: Keep your tongue down, use more stress on your vocal chords like you are trying to sing a low note.

R -> L: Touch your tongue to the gum above your top teeth, and then lower it while making the "r." Then, use less vocal chords by trying to sing a high note.

Works well enough for me.


I will try getting them to move back and forth the two sounds to practice this. In the case of Japanese students who are beginners, it's usually too much to get them to contrast the two sounds as simple phonemic contrasts. Phonetically speaking, they overlap in their own language (which as sounds that are interpreted by English speakers as [r], [l], and [d]). So I think more control and sequencing are required here. English /l/ makes a nice contrast with /d/ in initial position.
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Superhal



Joined: 20 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been able to do it with pure beginners. Imho, pronunciation is purely mechanical, and high level speakers who have trouble with it are trying to do it at an abstract level.
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CEJ



Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Superhal"]I've been able to do it with pure beginners. Imho, pronunciation is purely mechanical, and high level speakers who have trouble with it are trying to do it at an abstract level.[/quote]

I think you might have point. Insofar as what is teachable and immediately learnable, it often has to be treated that way.

However, in terms of phonological acquisition, it has to integrate with a much larger language system. And it also might have applications for learning to read and write an alphabetic language. The problem is a lot of our theoretical apparatus is really not up to the job in terms of telling us what is teachable and learnable, and how best to do it. This is a huge area, and this is why I've argued that pronunciation has to be re-thought as applied phonology, with extensive implications for language acquisition/learning, including vocabulary learning. It might even interface with grammar because a phonology is constructed and controlled with that sort of complexity (in other words, it is one structured element that contributes to the recursiveness of recursiveness that makes language difficult to analyze).

Do you teach EFL beginners or ESL students, by the way?
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Superhal



Joined: 20 Feb 2005
Posts: 131

PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bleah, lost a long post to that "could not connect to the database" error.

What I remember:

1. Technically, I teach ESL as I'm in the US and I don't know any other languages other than English, so that's the only language I teach with. However, I tend to allow low-level students to use more of their L1, so sometimes my class resembles an EFL class.

2. I don't think teachability and learnability is an issue with pronunciation because individual sounds don't carry meaning and correct pronunciation can be taught extremely quickly. However, from a receptive point of view, it must have something to do with language as native speakers can understand a variety of accents, even ones they have never heard before, while non-native speakers have trouble with new ones. But, is it absolutely necessary for communication? In the case of deaf or mute native speakers, I would argue that it is not.
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CEJ



Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Superhal wrote:
Bleah, lost a long post to that "could not connect to the database" error.

What I remember:

1. Technically, I teach ESL as I'm in the US and I don't know any other languages other than English, so that's the only language I teach with. However, I tend to allow low-level students to use more of their L1, so sometimes my class resembles an EFL class.

2. I don't think teachability and learnability is an issue with pronunciation because individual sounds don't carry meaning and correct pronunciation can be taught extremely quickly. However, from a receptive point of view, it must have something to do with language as native speakers can understand a variety of accents, even ones they have never heard before, while non-native speakers have trouble with new ones. But, is it absolutely necessary for communication? In the case of deaf or mute native speakers, I would argue that it is not.


Well deaf or mute people hardly present the same native language development picture as one who can use articulation triangulated with visuals and acoustic information. However, without face-to-face communication with a speaker of a language, language doesn't develop, which is why putting little kids in front a video with foreign language isn't going to turn them into native speakers. And that includes the very foundation of a language, it's phonology. I'm not sure you can I share enough of the same background knowledge to take this discussion much further.

As for understanding a largely variety of Englishes, that might well be because native speakers have redundant strategies and a much wider exposure to English than beginning or intermediate level learners of English. The problem is it really doesn't allow you to back engineer it into beginning students. It's like anything else. We say the native speaker does this or that, let's teach it to the EFL beginner. But what we migth be teaching is really only a surface level effect, and not the real reason the native speaker is the fluent native speaker able to handle a lot of variability in English.
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Superhal



Joined: 20 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it all boils down to which system of language acquisition you subscribe to. I'm pretty open-minded about it, and I feel that we still don't know The Answer yet.
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littlepoet



Joined: 07 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 9:19 pm    Post subject: practice Reply with quote

does anyone know of a good website or source for practice material for the pronounciation of the letter "r"? such as little poems or sentences or tongue twisters that would be good for students to develop their mastery of the sound..
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