English edit

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Etymology edit

Back-formation from rhotacism, coined in 1968 by John C. Wells.[1]


Pronunciation of the English word air in a rhotic (American) and non-rhotic (British) accent respectively:

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Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit

rhotic (not comparable)

  1. (linguistics, of an English accent) That allows the phoneme /ɹ/ even when not followed by a vowel, as in bar (/bɑːɹ/) and bard or barred (/bɑːɹd/); (of an English speaker) who speaks with such an accent.
    Rhotic speech is common in Ireland, Scotland, much of the United States, Canada, West Country England, and many parts of the north and west of England.
    • 1998, J. K. Chambers, Peter Trudgill, Dialectology, 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press, page 94:
      Rhotic (or r-ful) dialects are linguistic relics in England, as shown in Map 7-5. Nonrhotic or r-less dialects have been displacing them since the seventeenth century. Among the linguistically most conservative population in England, represented by the NORMs of the SED, both rhotic and nonrhotic dialects are found throughout the country. The fact that the rhotic dialects are relics is indicated on Map 7-5 not by the predominance of nonrhotic dialects, but by the discontinuity of the regions where rhotic dialects are found. A century or so earlier, they covered even more of the country, and the three regions probably formed part of a continuous network.
    • 2004, Peter Trudgill, New-Dialect Formation: The Inevitability of Colonial Englishes, Oxford University Press, page 68:
      Except for the Southland area, New Zealand English today is non-rhotic (Wells, 1982: 606). Australian, Tristanian and Port Stanley Falkland Islands English are also non-rhotic, as is South African English (except for some people who are native Afrikaans speakers – Wells 1982: 617). This has often been erroneously ascribed (for instance, in Trudgill, 1986a) to the fact that most of England was non-rhotic at the time of the main immigration to New Zealand. It is now obvious that this is not correct at all: of the eighty-four Mobile Unit speakers analysed, an astonishing 92% are rhotic to some degree.
    • 2009, Ingrid Rosenfelder, Rhoticity in educated Jamaican English, Thomas Hoffmann, Licia Siebers, World Englishes – Problems, Properties and Prospects: Selected Papers from the 13th IAWE Conference, John Benjamins Publishing Company,
      Contrary to “traditional” descriptions in the literature, Jamaican English cannot be characterized as predominantly rhotic, exhibiting an overall degree of rhoticity of approximately 20 per cent.
  2. (linguistics, phonetics, of a phoneme) Having a sound quality associated with the letter R; having the sound of any of certain IPA symbols, including /ɹ/, /ɻ/, /ɚ/, /ɝ/ and /r/.
    In the IPA, a rhotic vowel (aka R-coloured vowel, retroflex vowel, vocalic r or rhotacised vowel) is indicated by the affixing of a hook diacritic ( ˞ ) to the right of the regular symbol for the vowel. The rhotic consonants are /r/, /ɾ/, /ɹ/, /ɻ/, /ʀ/, /ʁ/, /ɽ/ and /ɺ/.
    • 2007, Robert Blust, “22: The prenasalised trills of Manus”, in Jeff Siegel, John Dominic Lynch, Diana Eades, editors, Language Description, History and Development, John Benjamins Publishing Company, page 297:
      What is normally understood by the term "trill" is a rhotic consonant of the type seen in the Spanish word perro 'dog', or the usual pronunciation of the phoneme /r/ in Parisian French.
    • 2012, Jennifer Hay, Alhana Clendon, “(Non)-Rhoticity: Lessons from New Zealand English”, in Terttu Nevalainen, Elizabeth Closs Traugott, editors, The Oxford Handbook of the History of English, Oxford University Press, page 765:
      The rhotic tokens were analyzed as /r/-ful on both occasions. In addition, the researcher conducting the acoustic analysis of F3 also held the impression that all analyzed tokens were rhotic. Some tokens were highly constricted and others were more weakly rhotic.
    • 2018, Kathy J. Jakielski, Christina E. Gildersleeve-Neumann, Phonetic Science for Clinical Practice, Plural Publishing, page 83:
      The articulatory description of rhotic diphthongs and triphthongs involves the onglide vowel followed by the rhotic or r-colored offglide.

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Noun edit

rhotic (plural rhotics)

  1. (phonetics) A rhotic consonant or rhotic vowel (R-coloured vowel).
    • 1997, Eulàlia Bonet, Joan Mascarò, “On the representation of contrasting rhotics”, in Fernando Martínez-Gil, Alfonso Morales-Front, editors, Issues in the Phonology and Morphology of the Major Iberian Languages, Georgetown University Press, page 103:
      It is well known that the phonetic realization of rhotics varies considerably from language to language, even from dialect to dialect. Rhotics can be realized as flaps, taps, trills (uvular, coronal or bilabial), or as assibilated or fricative variants.
    • 2012, Rebeka Campos-Astorkiza, 5: The Phonemes of Spanish, José Ignacio Hualde, Antxon Olarrea, Erin O'Rourke (editors), The Handbook of Hispanic Linguistics, John Wiley & Sons (Wiley-Blackwell), page 100,
      Spanish also has two rhotics, a tap /ɾ/(vibrante simple) and a trill /r/(vibrante múltiple).
    • 2018, Kathy J. Jakielski, Christina E. Gildersleeve-Neumann, Phonetic Science for Clinical Practice, Plural Publishing, page 83:
      Phonetic transcription of rhotics differs depending on whether the rhotic is a steady-state or dynamic vowel.

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