Danish: Origins of R sound

utopia

Senior Member
Israel, Hebrew
Hello,

Does anybody know the origins of the sound r in Danish?

Thanks in advance.
 
  • berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Ultimately probably from French. Could be direct, could be via German influence or both. To my knowledge it is not completely clear. But I am not an expert on Danish.
     

    utopia

    Senior Member
    Israel, Hebrew
    Thank you.

    So the german and danish r sounds are French? Is it something that originates from a Celtic tribe?
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    The traditional explanation is that it developed in Versailles court language and spread from there in France and from there to some other European languages following the Napoléon occupation. But this explanation is not shared by all linguistics. Some think it must have developed several times independently. At any rate, it is a relatively recent phenomenon (200-300 years) in all of the three languages.
     

    utopia

    Senior Member
    Israel, Hebrew
    So accordingly only because Denmark is close to Germany the danish language got its r sound (from the French).

    What other options are there?
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    /r/ is realised as uvular [ʀ] sporadically in languages around the world, for example in the archaic Arabic dialects in Iraq.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Yes, that is the reason why the explanation of a radiation from French into German and Danish is doubted by some linguists.
     

    utopia

    Senior Member
    Israel, Hebrew
    It's interesting, because the environments both in danish and in arabic are of a trilled r.

    And the question is raised, why those societies specifically adopted such a consonant.
     

    utopia

    Senior Member
    Israel, Hebrew
    Actually, come to think about it, the Danish R is much deeper. It sounds a little different than French R or German R.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Actually, come to think about it, the Danish R is much deeper. It sounds a little different than French R or German R.
    Depends on the following vowel. Listen to, e.g., to rige and compare this to German rund.

    Since none of these languages have a [ʁ]-[ɣ] opposition, let alone a [ʔ], the realisations of /ʁ/ is relatively free. In French it can even be devoiced (at the end of a word or in front of an unvoiced consonant) and sound like a Hebrew Het/Chaph.
     

    utopia

    Senior Member
    Israel, Hebrew
    Well, I doubt if the French /ʁ/ really sounds the same as Hebrew khaf, but they do have a tendency to silence this sound at the end of a word.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Well, I doubt if the French /ʁ/ really sounds the same as Hebrew khaf, but they do have a tendency to silence this sound at the end of a word.
    It is definitely devoiced in words like porte. This has nothing to do with "silencing". The difference between porte [pɔʁt] and pote [pɔt] is in no way compromised.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It can be devoiced finally in a word like quatre [katχ], making it much like the Modern Hebrew sound, and it can also be silenced in that position when another consonant follows, as in quatre saisons, with [kat], sometimes written quat'.

    cross-posted
     

    utopia

    Senior Member
    Israel, Hebrew
    It can be devoiced finally in a word like quatre [katχ], making it much like the Modern Hebrew sound, and it can also be silenced in that position when another consonant follows, as in quatre saisons, with [kat], sometimes written quat'.

    cross-posted

    Well, as far as I know, and based on listening to French speakers I don't think that French R sound and Hebrew KH sound are the same. They are close, but something in the French R sound is still different. It has a mixed sound, more like khr than real kh.

    That's my impression.
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    On a minor note:
    Does/did the /r/ > /ʀ/ not cause confusion due to Arabic having /ɣ/-/ʁ/?
    My understanding (at second hand) is that in the archaic Iraqi dialects /r/ merges with /γ/, so that both are realised as [γ]. A dental /r/ is however used in loan words and in culture words taken from Classical Arabic.
     
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