I have a problem pronouncing a uvular trill when lying on my side (I mean completely horizontal, without a tilt), but normally I can trill for over 20 seconds. Even if I start trilling and move my body in a horizontal position, it stop sounding like a trill.

I think I know what's going on, the uvula hang in the wrong direction and that might be the cause.

I keep practicing till I get the hang of it.

  • 1
    Übung macht Meister. ©
    – Yellow Sky
    Apr 28, 2017 at 6:10
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    I can. But asking like this, the question is more a survey than a question suited for a Q/A site providing objective answers. You should reword it so as go make it to make it less opinion-based and more explanation-based instead. Apr 28, 2017 at 6:39
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    And if not, how can French be the language of Love?
    – Greg Lee
    Apr 28, 2017 at 11:08
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    Maybe I shoud have asked: "Does the position of the body relative to gravity limit or change the sounds we can make?"
    – argon
    Apr 29, 2017 at 2:20
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    A serious study of the (reformulated) question is a hot candidate for an Ig Nobel Prize, I think. Any volunteers? May 8, 2017 at 13:00

2 Answers 2


Articulation can be affected by gravity. Jaw movement and tongue position depends on neural feedback mechanisms to determine if the target has been reached. This doesn't absolutely limit ability to make certain sounds, but it can make it more difficult to articulate correctly. A "simple" test is to try talking upside down: it can be done, but it takes a little while to readjust. Respiration (thus phonation) is also affected by having your giblets on top of your lungs, but again you can learn to adjust.

An interesting experiment would be studying acquisition of new sounds (e.g. Arabic ʕ, Lushootseed ƛ', Hungarian gy, Khoisan clicks), when subjects practice the sound only when inverted. I predict initial difficulties in articulation when subjects are allowed to make these sounds when standing.


I think , of all the IPA consonants and vowels, the ones with association to air would be a bit difficult to pronounce in the same way, 'cause changing gravity (in drastic way) can change air thickness. E.g. Implosives, Explosives, Aspirations, Clicks etc.

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