0

In just about every respect r behaves like the two glides: w and j. So Why exactly is it not classed as a glide? It is particularly its intrusive behaviour that makes me wonder why.

  • 2
    What evidence do you have that it is not a liquid? Why would you say such a thing? What evidence do you have that anyone classifies /w,j/ as liquids? – user6726 Oct 6 '16 at 4:16
  • Epic blunder on my side. Five am was early indeed, it seems... So the question was meant to be: Why is r not a glide? – Lefty G Balogh Oct 6 '16 at 9:26
  • I never understood the differences between glides and syllabic consonants. R is syllabic in many languages. – Vladimir F Oct 6 '16 at 10:28
2

It depends on the language (note that there are many kinds of "r" and IPA has a wealth of r-like letters to indicate some of those differences). In very many languages, [r] or [ɾ] (etc.) is not treated as a glide, because it acts differently from glides. For example, onset clusters in Chinese can include glides, but not r. There is a common syllabification rule that syllables can end with glide plus consonant, but not liquid or nasal plus consonant, and r acts like a linquid rather than a glide. However English [ɹ] is rather different. In terms of features, r is usually [+consonantal] (which has to do with there being a constriction in the vocal tract smaller than a certain size), but English [ɹ] is very unconstricted and it is [-consonantal]. So it does in fact act like a glide, and is treated as a glide. The moral of the story is that not all rs are the same, and not all treatments of r are the same.

| improve this answer | |
  • What's the argument for treating English [ɹ] as [-consonantal]? – TKR Oct 6 '16 at 20:26
  • It's strictly based on the phonetics: the constriction is only a bit narrower at the tongue dorsum than with [w]. Otherwise, it's the patterning fact. Since I'm actually skeptical about using phonetics as the court of appeals for features assignment, I think there is just the patterning fact and that [cons] nonsyllabic means "glide". – user6726 Oct 6 '16 at 20:49
  • Sorry, what is the patterning fact? – TKR Oct 6 '16 at 20:55
-1

Why does it matter? If we start calling it a glide, does that predict it can be intrusive? How?

Historically, in Preliminaries to Speech Analysis, IIRC, an acoustic account was given for classifying r/l as both consonantal and vocalic, as compared to the glides, which have neither property. Something about having zeros in the spectrum and having periodic properties. I don't believe in acoustic features, so I have a hard time caring.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.