Dropping of the 'R'

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Re: Dropping of the 'R'

Post by salmon » Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:47 am

Sylvester wrote:
plwk wrote:
PaulGar wrote:I think the fact that the 'R' is dropped in Pali is a good thing for those living in some Buddhist countries. Thais in particular have a real problem pronouncing R :-)
The Chinese too....

Only the Southern Chinese linguistic groups. Not a problem for the Northern Chinese, with their plethora of initial 'R' consonants (Rong, Re, Rui, Rang, Rou, Ru etc).

But, the TV stereotype of "flied lice" is probably quite true, given that the earliest and most populous Chinese migrant waves were represented by the Cantonese and other Southern "dialect" groups without the 'R'.
All Chinese linguistic groups have R consonants, L consonants & X consonants (not S)...Many Asian languages tend to be mono-syllable (and tonal), so a combination of consonants tend to confound the tongue :tongue:
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Re: Dropping of the 'R'

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:29 am

salmon wrote: All Chinese linguistic groups have R consonants, L consonants & X consonants (not S)...
However, in many cases the R has become indistinguishable from L. This is the case for the way many (most?) Thai people speak Thai (as opposed to the official version spoken by TV presenters, the Thai equivalent of BBC English) and appears to be the case for many Cantonese. Apparently a few years ago the Lao language simply dropped the "R" letter as a waste of effort...

I'm not sure if this is helping the original questioner, though it does illustrate that pronunciation is a tricky business.

Getting back to Pali, your comment about the mono-syllabic nature of many Asian languages is a useful point to make. I'm not sure if Pali is technically mono-syllabic, but Thai certainly is, and so the Pali I mostly hear is. English (and probably speakers of other European languages) sometimes have difficulty with this. In the Pali context it's important to figure out the syllables correctly: dhamma is dham-ma, not dhaaa-ma.


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