Ukrainian: /р/ Trill

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by tʃæz, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. tʃæz Member

    Washington, US
    English - Pacific Northwest, US
    Now, I know <р> (letter "er") to be pronounced [r], however, I never have been able to do an alveolar trill. So, my question is simply: would it be acceptable to use a uvular trill [ʀ]? It was only within this past week that I learned how to even do that! And my skill in doing the uvular trill is still a bit shaky, to say the least. So, I can't imagine being able to succeed in doing the (what I believe to be the more common) alveolar trill any time soon - if ever.
  2. Selyd Senior Member

    traez, вітаю!
    1. Що треба додати, бо я не бачу другу букву твого імені. Також uvular trill [?].
    2. Ти хочеш знати, які звуки відповідають букві <p>? Навести приклади?
  3. DenisBiH

    DenisBiH Senior Member

    I'm not a Ukrainian, but in BCS there are even a few native speakers who pronounce it closer to an uvular trill for some reason, so I imagine you'd be understood. But still better to hear what Ukrainians think.

    About doing the alveolar trill, I'll paraphrase what my Arabic teacher told us in high-school when we told him we couldn't imagine ourselves ever learning to properly articulate all those 'strange' Arabic consonants - we all have the same 'equipment' for sound production, and as native speakers learned it, so can you. :)
  4. tʃæz Member

    Washington, US
    English - Pacific Northwest, US
    Using a terrible translation, I'm going to try to respond to what I think you were saying. In every source that I've found, the pronunciation for the Ukrainian letter <р> is [r]. But I'm wondering if a uvular trill ([ʀ]) would be acceptable, or if it would sound more like a speech impediment to a native speaker. So, would I be able to use the same sort of trill, but closer to the throat?

    Even if I were someday capable to use an alveolar trill, until then, I wouldn't be able to practice any Ukrainian words using <р> with enough accuracy if not being able to use the uvular trill. However, if the uvular trill is appropriate to at least some accents/dialects, then I could go on knowing that I can practice the words with accuracy. I'm strangely incapable of many oral sounds (even whistling), so being able to succeed with a uvular trill lately seemed like a miracle.
  5. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Selyd, это "uvular trill". :)
  6. tʃæz Member

    Washington, US
    English - Pacific Northwest, US
    That was a lot simpler, haha. Thank you for making a better response than me. ;)
  7. Selyd Senior Member

    Ми обговорюємо звуки української мови. В літературі, на сторінках інтернету може наводитися основний звук. Звук конкретно може реалізовуватися як алофон, різновид звуку. Я ж говорю не як філолог,
    а як носій мови.
    Як я відчуваю, звук в має три алофони.
    1. вовк, вухо, вудка, звук
    2. вітер, вечір, варта, вікно
    3. втрата, вівтар, завше.

    Як я відчуваю, звук р (trill, дрижачий) має два алофони.
    1. річка, розмова, рядок, речення - trill мало
    2. рак, рука, ромб, гриб, рюш - trill значне. Тут малі діти не дають дрижання (trill)
    і вимовляють лак, лука.
    Como en espanol - hablar, barril. rr - не так сильно в українській.
    Може буде корисне.

    Mod note - post concerning /в/ copied to this thread.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 28, 2010
  8. Orlin Banned

    Я не говорю по-украински, но сказал бы, что во всяком случае украинцы поймут независимо от варианта звука р, потому что, если я не ошибаюсь, в славянских языках есть только одна фонема [р], если абстрахироваться от различия по твердости-мягкости в некоторых славянских языках, и все варианты этого звука являются лишь аллофонами и их замена не оказывает влияния на смысл.
  9. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    The only Slavic language to use the uvular flap and trill regularly is Sorbian, where the alveolar "r" has been replaced by the uvular "r" only due to the influence of German.
    For the rest of Slavic languages, look here. This phenomenon is called картавость or грассирование in Russian, the latter also used when talking about the same phenomenon in French. It is also associated with Jewish accent/pronunciation (or used to be associated, but now this association seems to disappear due to the fact that there isn't much political correctness in this association).
    Young school children might laugh about it. It is understandable for the most, but might sound disagreable to some people (I'm one of those) when used in a language where the norm is the alveolar flap/trill.
    A friend of my parents in whose family "r" is pronounced as uvular by all or nearly all and who's singer by profession had to learn the alveolar variant when he was a student. Since then he pronounces it correctly. However, I didn't ask him how he did it.

    I have the reverse problem in German: although I was 10 years old when I came to Germany I didn't learn how to pronounce the uvular flap / trill properly during a very long time. I either swallowed it (also an option, even if not in all contexts - somewhat similar to English) or pronounced it the "Bavarian" way, i. e. as alveolar flap/trill.
    Strangely, it isn't a problem in French any more, but I received some particular lessons in French pronunciation when I began learning it at school at the age of 12, because my French pronunciation was really horrible at that moment.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
  10. tʃæz Member

    Washington, US
    English - Pacific Northwest, US
    You make it sound as if the 'flap' and 'trill' are the same, though they definitely are not. If an alveolar flap is fine, I can do that with very little hassle. In terms of alveolar, 'tap' is used seemingly synonymously in most cases. I learned how to do the alveolar tap/flap before the majority of otherwise "foreign" sounds in English.
  11. Selyd Senior Member

    Orlin, твое замечание уместно. Безусловно говорящего поймут.
    Смисловое различие отсутствует. Просто слово будет звучать не по-украински. По малейшим оттенкам звука мы замечаем, что говорит
    не украинец, а выучивший язык. Выговориться очень трудно.
  12. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    Well, in Spanish the trill is represented graphically by a double r, whereas the flap by a simple one. Maybe that hint could help you a bit. Anyway, if you cannot pronounce the trill, you should go for the flap (as long as it is alveolar), which is more similar than the uvualr one. In many languages flap and trill are considered just allophones, the exceptions noted in Wikipedia being Spanish, Catalan and Albanian. The difference is really not that big.
  13. tʃæz Member

    Washington, US
    English - Pacific Northwest, US
    Okay, that's encouraging. When I first started trying to pronounce Ukrainian words, I was using the alveolar tap (I was familiar with this from studying Far Eastern languages when I was early into my elementary years. It's quite prominent in Japanese.)

    And also, to my astonishment (just like stumbling upon doing uvular trills), I can make a very crude alveolar trill all of a sudden. I will need to do much, much practising for a long time, I'm sure. At the moment, I can pronounce "прошу" and "привіт" using the alveolar trill. It seems I can only pair it with plosives, at the moment. This is good! I was starting to feel a bit discouraged into delving more into Slavic languages until now.
  14. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Not quite. :)

    In Slovene there's a similar case - to my knowledge nobody in Slovenia uses the "German = French r" sound, but Slovenes in Carinthia do, extensively (mainly [ʁ] - those that I knew used this one - but also [ʀ] I guess); some actually have aleolar [r] in their dialects but most Carinthian Slovene speakers don't, and their [ʁ] sounds utterly strange to mainland Slovenes.

    In the case of Slovene anyway there's no communicative problem (or if then this is due to other features of Carinthian Slovene dialects but certainly not the 'r sound').
    Of course I cannot speak for Ukrainians, but I would say prognosis is that there wouldn't be major communicative problems if you use the wrong "r" sound.

    If you don't use the correct 'r' sound, tʃæz, you're of course giving you away instantly as non-native, and you should try and learn that sound (it's really essential, and it isn't that difficult :)), but for starters you can make do with whatever 'r' sound you can manage.

    Oh, and an important by-the-way: it doesn't really make sense if you try for weeks on end to pronounce an uvular trill (as you said yourself this too would be difficult for you); when you're prepared to spend some effort you'll learn alveolar 'r' just as easily.

    I recommend you begin replacing Ukrainian 'r' with the closest sound you have in English, which is a flap like used in American pronunciation of 'better' = /beɾɚ/.
    This sound, which you perceive as a 'tt', is in fact an alveolar [r] but where the tongue only flaps once; all you need to learn is let the tongue flap two or three times, and voilà, here you are - Ukrainian [r]!
    Try pronouncing this flap /ɾ/ after /d/, that is a nonsense-syllable-sequence of /adɾa/ - and try to 'hold' and 'prolongue' the flap. You might just get there quicker than you think. :)
  15. Ottilie

    Ottilie Senior Member

    Romanian(1st) / Russian (2nd)
    В том-то и дело. Вот на мой взгляд,все, кто хочет владеь тем или иным иностранным языком, непосредственно стремятся к усовершенствованию акцента на данном языке,а акцент или вообще какое-то левое произношение,не то чтоб мешает носителям языка,они по-любому поймут,но является признаком того,что у человека, выучившего язык есть какие-то минусы в этой связи.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  16. tʃæz Member

    Washington, US
    English - Pacific Northwest, US
    If you read my above reply, I just learned how to say the R's correctly in "прошу," "привіт," (and soon after I wrote that reply) "прави," "добре." So far, I can only do it correctly after the voiced and unvoiced bilabial plosives, and in other cases simply use the tap/flap. And I already said that I knew (a long time ago) what an alveolar tap/flap was. But thank you, anyway. =]
  17. Dani1967 New Member

    Spanish (Arg), English
    Hi tʃæz

    Ukrainian "p" is closest to an alveolar flap.

    In song, or emphatic speech (such as in Church readings), it may be produced with a trill (like Spanish "rr").

    I wouldn't worry too much , though --- as Sokol said, just practice your alveolar tap/flap ... you'll get it down in no time!
  18. tʃæz Member

    Washington, US
    English - Pacific Northwest, US
    I've been practising whenever I can, and I've gradually become better with the trill (what I really had the problem with.) In only a few limited positions do I need to work on the tap/flap, which I am doing just as much - and with the knowledge of the tap/flap being a little more typical, I guess I'll work on my shortcomings with that a little more. So, thanks all for the clarifications and help. =]
  19. denver-price New Member

    English - Canadian
    As a matter of fact, during the years that I have been teaching English at the National University in Lutsk, I've met three or four students who from childhood had been incapable of producing an alveolar trill, so they all had resorted to a uvular trill to replace the missing sound.
  20. DarkChild Senior Member

    In Bulgaria, it's a common speech defect for people not to be able to pronounce the flap and instead use the uvular trill.
  21. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    The use of an uvular trill in Ukrainian may invoke some unexpected associations. For Russians, the deep Ukrainian accent with its sing-song intonation is often almost indistinguishable from the traditional Jewish one, so for many people here the only difference between the Ukrainian speech imitated in Ukrainian jokes and the Jewish speech in Jewish jokes is this uvular r in the latter...
  22. swintok Senior Member

    English - Canada
    Using an uvular trill in Ukrainian would normally be considered a speech impediment and something that schools would send kids to a speech therapist to work on. That having been said, similar to what ahvalj wrote, the Ukrainian (and Russian) spoken by older generations of Jewish people around Odesa is characterised by the uvular trill, likely as an influence from Yiddish. There is a thriving comedic industry based on the use of the Odesa accent.

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