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Roll those Rs


23 Oct 2003
This might have already been posted but since I found no match in search so here I go:

How come my teacher tells me to stop rolling my Rs since there's none in Japanese. But then when I hear some Japanese guy pissed off he goes all out with those Rs. I also hear some in Japanese music.

What the deal?
I'm pretty sure that in the Kinki region they roll "r's" in informal speech, so you were probably hearing Kinki Japanese.
Its always big guys that roll them. Or bad guys. I'll try to record one guy and post it
That reminds me of the movie "Black Rain" with Kirk Douglas (I believe). The big, old yakuza kashira always rolled his "r's," which leads me to believe that it may be an almost obscene pronunciation. By that I mean that it shows that the speaker believes that he is of higher status than the listener even more so than using humble speech about the listener's actions. But of course, I could be wrong. It just seems that way to me. Perhaps it's just a phonetic way of showing superiority rather than a lexical one. :?
rquethe said:
Could it be it's just some word with a double r's?

アッラ or some such sound?

That doesn't exist in Japanese. There are only certain consonants that take the glottal stop, and then there is "s," which is extended. "R" isn't one of them.

About double consonants:

Pronounce the next consonant longer than usual.
When followed by a plosive like "t" and "k", /Q/ is a breath stop with the mouth position to pronounce the next consonant.
When followed by a fricative like as "s", /Q/ is a continuous consonant.

(Taken from Teach Yourself Japanese)

According to the International Phonetic Alphabet, "r" is either an approximant, a trill, or a tap or flap. (The English "r" is an approximant)
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I can't understand what he's saying at all. Just sounds like a bunch of mumbling. Maybe the sound file is poor.

Glenn: You know that is so bizarre. I have never heard that the glottal stop or whatever was only with certain consonants. I've had 4 different teachers and not one mentioned that. How peculiar...
no no the sounds is a little bit poor but it just sounds like he's saying boorrraaa booraa boooorrraaa!!!
prolly saying korrrrrraaa!!

i've seen that bit off black rain, they were doing a segment on a show about foreigners using shonky japanese in movies (windtalkers, big trouble in little tokyo etc).

The rolling of r's is not normally used in normal japanese, but when people start shouting.... it sounds pretty damn cool. (and scary, ive been shouted at by a guy claiming to be 'yakuza', not fun)
It's not really rolling the R as done in Russian or in Spanish. They have difficulty doing that.

It's a different sound--listen more carefully. The Japanese R sound is not like the R from any western or Romance languages. More like a combination of L and R.

Say "I gotta go." the "tta" is as close as you can get (in English) to the Japanese "Ra" sound.
Um... I don't know how you say "gotta," but to my ear, the "tta" sounds nothing like Japanese "ra" sound. I understand the "ra" sound. But "tta" still has far too much of that strong "t" sound. Even from people who pronounce it lazily with more of a "d" sound.

Though I still see where it is similar. Try saying "I gara go" and pronunce "gara" like in Japanese. It does sound kind of the same same I guess. But I don't like to say the sounds are the same, because I think to many people will start pronouncing their Japanese "r"'s like English "t"'s...
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