R or W?

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Mick F
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R or W?

Postby Mick F » 4 Jan 2021, 10:08am

There's a reporter on Radio Four who continually says the word "Brexit" as "Bwexit".
No lisp, no nothing, just Ws instead of Rs.

Why do some people pronounce Rs as Ws when all the rest of their speech is correct?

I know that I have a northern accent, and I have "flat vowels" but that's just accent. I say Bath and not Barth for instance, but if I had had a propensity to pronounce Rs as Ws when I was a small child, I would continually have been corrected - at school as well as at home. It would have been completely nipped in the bud.

Is there a medical or psychological reason? Do they not hear it when they speak? Why aren't they corrected?

Genuine serious question and I'm not poking fun.
Mick F. Cornwall

reohn2
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Re: R or W?

Postby reohn2 » 4 Jan 2021, 10:37am

It is a speech impediment(according to conformists),one of my granddchildren,Alfie now 9 years old has the same 'impediment' and has had speech therapy at an early age,it isn't as simple to cowwect as you seem to think.
Alfie's perfectly understood by all who he comes in conntact with,and children of his own age don't notice his 'problem'.

Story alert
I'm lefthanded*,during handwriting classes I was singled out as writing 'wrong','wrong' meant my handwriting leaned the 'wrong' way even though it was perfectly readable and neat.
At the time,in promary school,it made me feel bit odd because I didn't 'do it right' this 'wrongness' continued throughout my schooling .
How wrong these straight jacket conformists are.

If the news presenter is perfectly understandable what's the problem,we're are who we are so stop trying to change us!

*though I shoot a rifle or handgun,hold a cricket bat,and play guitar righhanded,but play tennis and bowl at cricket lefthanded but if I were to play keepy uppy with a cricket bat and ball I'd hold the bat with my left hand.
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661-Pete
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Re: R or W?

Postby 661-Pete » 4 Jan 2021, 10:50am

This should explain all.... :lol:
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
Let us pass the time by performing physical experiments...
--- Arthur Eddington (creator of the Eddington Number).

reohn2
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Re: R or W?

Postby reohn2 » 4 Jan 2021, 10:59am

661-Pete wrote:This should explain all.... :lol:

We can all take the pith out of anyone! :wink:
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Jdsk
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Re: R or W?

Postby Jdsk » 4 Jan 2021, 11:02am

The R-like sounds are so interesting that they have a word all to themselves. I think that's unique, although the Biblical story of shibboleth/ shibboleth gets close.

Rhotic consonant:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhotic_consonant

What you're describing is rhotacism:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhotacism_(speech_impediment)

It's common for people who do it routinely to find it difficult or impossible to make the more common r sound.

But isn't always an impediment. It's been used as a cultural style, most obviously in upper class speech in England in the nineteenth century.

Jonathan

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Re: R or W?

Postby Jdsk » 4 Jan 2021, 11:05am

Mick F wrote:Why do some people pronounce Rs as Ws when all the rest of their speech is correct?

I know that I have a northern accent, and I have "flat vowels" but that's just accent. I say Bath and not Barth for instance, but if I had had a propensity to pronounce Rs as Ws when I was a small child, I would continually have been corrected - at school as well as at home. It would have been completely nipped in the bud.

Is there a medical or psychological reason? Do they not hear it when they speak? Why aren't they corrected?

I wouldn't use the word "correct". The r version is simply more common at the moment. This might change.

Jonathan

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Syd
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Re: R or W?

Postby Syd » 4 Jan 2021, 11:14am

A speech impediment in the same way some say fing instead of thing, for example.

matt_twam_asi
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Re: R or W?

Postby matt_twam_asi » 4 Jan 2021, 11:58am

Tom Scott has a good summary.

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Mick F
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Re: R or W?

Postby Mick F » 4 Jan 2021, 1:29pm

Thanks guys!
Very interesting.

This forum is brilliant.
Think of a question, and someone knows the answer.
Mick F. Cornwall

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kylecycler
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Re: R or W?

Postby kylecycler » 4 Jan 2021, 2:00pm

I think I mentioned this on here years ago but there's a story about when Paul McCartney came to record the song 'We All Stand Together' with 'The Frog Chorus'.



The children who sang on it were stage school kids from Essex and none of them could pronounce 'frog' - all said 'fwog'. He'd say to them, "It's not 'fwog', it's 'frog', but they just physically couldn't pronounce their 'r's, so eventually he had to rewrite the lyrics and leave out the word 'frog'.

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Mick F
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Re: R or W?

Postby Mick F » 4 Jan 2021, 2:06pm

so ...................... it's a regional thing?
Same as (as already been said) that some people say F instead of Th ............Fings ain't wot they used to be?

I cannot for the life of me remember any single person I knew in Lancashire who pronounced Fings or Fwogs.
Mick F. Cornwall

Jdsk
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Re: R or W?

Postby Jdsk » 4 Jan 2021, 2:08pm

There are regional variations but it isn't only "a regional thing". There are also class and individual factors.

Jonathan

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Mick F
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Re: R or W?

Postby Mick F » 4 Jan 2021, 2:13pm

Why did you mention "class"?

Are you suggesting that it's an affectation?
Mick F. Cornwall

Jdsk
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Re: R or W?

Postby Jdsk » 4 Jan 2021, 2:18pm

As described above it became one in nineteenth century England. That doesn't mean that it is an affectation in anyone else.

"r-dropping" has also been observed in working-class New Yorkers:
http://nautil.us/blog/why-the-r-sound-became-a-famous-social-differentiator

Jonathan

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al_yrpal
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Re: R or W?

Postby al_yrpal » 4 Jan 2021, 2:57pm

Pisspronounciation?

Next time you watch the tv weather forecast and the person says its going to be mild, listen to them say its going to be mald. They all do it. Drives me mad. Almost as bad as the pisspronounciation of bath or miwk instead of milk. :lol:

Al
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