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From New Latin rhōtacismus, from Ancient Greek *ῥωτακισμός (*rhōtakismós), from ῥωτακίζω (rhōtakízō, to incorrectly use rho), from ῥῶ (rhô, rho (the Greek equivalent of r)).



rhotacism (countable and uncountable, plural rhotacisms)

  1. An exaggerated use of the sound of the letter R.
  2. (countable, phonology) A linguistic phenomenon in which a consonant changes into an R, such as Latin flos becoming florem in the accusative case; rhotacization.
  3. Inability to pronounce the letter R; derhotacization.
    • 1970: Leland E. Hinsie and Robert Jean Campbell, Psychiatric Dictionary, page 711 (Oxford University Press)
      For example: r’s may become burrs or guttural grunts or w’s or l’s (rhotacism); […]
    • 1976: Deafness, Speech, and Hearing Publications, Inc., of Gallaudet College & the American Speech and Hearing Association, DSH Abstracts, volumes 16–17 (1976–1977), page 289 (Deafness Speech and Hearing Publications)
      From the analysis of Kana writings, hypothesizes that the inability to establish a stable… […] The correction of rhotacism by means of an electric vibrator.
    • 2005: Bernard Fogel, PhD, CCC-SLP, Exercising the Rhotacism in Absence of Pathology (ADVANCE)
      It is universally accepted that the rhotacism, a defective utterance of the /r/ sounds, is usually the last and most difficult American English consonant to correct functionally.
      I use two methods to help correct the rhotacism.

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