23 Jul 2014

Pronunciation - intrusive R

Intrusive R in Sherlock (BBC)

Following one of the discussions I have recently had with my students, I'm posting some links on the perception of a process known as intrusive /r/ (with some quotes). The question that remains to be asked is to frown upon or not to frown upon? To me, the latter idea_r_is dearer... :)

John Well's Phonetic Blog - intrusive r in EPD
Here is what the Cambridge English Pronunciation Dictionary, says (17th edition, 2006, Daniel Jones, edited by Peter Roach, James Hartman and Jane Setter) on the subject of r links (...) although this type of pronunciation is widespread in the speech of native speakers of the accent described, it is still safer not to recommend it to foreign learners, and it is therefore avoided in this dictionary.
John Well's Phonetic Blog - intrusive r in ODP
The Oxford Dictionary of Pronunciation for Current English (2001) has a longer discussion of intrusive r than either of the other two pronunciation dictionaries (...) Long-condemned by teachers of pronunciation, this is nevertheless a firmly established feature of today's mainstream RP.
John Well's Phonetic Blog - intrusive r in LPD
A word on my own personal usage. I use intrusive r freely after ə, ɑː and the centring diphthongs, even word-internally, but never after ɔː. So I would readily put an r in china and glass, Grandma again and even in semi-nonce forms such as concertinaing, magentaish; but not in thaw out, sawing, withdrawal. Historically, I think this constitutes an intermediate step between an earlier generation (DJ) that still distinguished ɔə (soar) from ɔː (saw), with consistent r links after the first but not after the second, and later generations for whom the two categories are entirely merged as ɔː

The English Language Blog - The idea-r-of it - on the intrusive /r/
Intrusive /r/ typically occurs either after the unstressed /ə/ vowel or the long vowel in law. Sometimes it can even be heard inside words like draw/r/ing. While linking /r/ is completely acceptable, intrusive /r/ is still frowned upon by some language users.

BBC Voices - Language Change 
The intrusive r is probably the result of people generalising the linking-r principle so that it fits other cases that are analogous in terms of sound. Rather than having a rule that says Drop the 'r' in words like 'more' and 'here' anywhere except before vowels, people who use intrusive r have a new rule which says Words that end in certain vowels like 'doctor' and 'saw' need an extra 'r' before vowels.

Pronunciation Studio - Intrusive /r/
Some RP speakers will do all they can to avoid intrusive /r/, but it’s worth noting that in connected speech, it’s very common. In fact, intrusive r has become a feature of General British pronunciation and indeed a feature of many varieties of English and its frequency has increased quite dramatically in recent years. Non-native speakers can make use of intrusive /r/ to make their English sound much more natural and fluid.

A World of Englishes by Jane Setter - Fun and games with /r/
One must note, however, that linking and intrusive /r/ are both optional connected speech processes; they do not HAVE to happen.  For reasons of fluency, they often do.  My friend was saying that she would always put a glottal stop between "idea" and "of" in that last example; if I could hide behind her with a recording device to find out whether this is true in such instances, I would ... but of course this would be unethical.

Dialect Blog - That's the Idear: Intusive 'R'
Generations of Americans have puzzled over the British tendency to add ‘r’s where (it seems to us) ‘r’s don’t belong (...) R insertion, as strange as it sounds to us r-pronouncers, is in fact guided by simple, logical rules (...) Anyway, this brings us to the point of today’s post, the related phenomenon of hypercorrective intrusive r.  This is a largely American peculiarity whereby someone with a traditionally non-rhotic accent (...) hypercorrects and pronounces r regardless of whether it precedes a vowel.  Hence we get “I’ve got no idear what to wear!” and “He liked to drawr cats.”

Positive Anymore blog - Intrusive intrusive /r/
In British English intrusive /r/ is stigmatized.
Positive Anymore blog - Trudgill on Pop Song Pronunciation
The main quibble I have with this article has to do with Trudgill's assertion (which figures throughout the book) that in an attempt to Americanize their pronunciation British singers hyper-corrected their rhotacization, inserting "intrusive" /r/s even where those with intrusive /r/s don't really have them. 

Some articles on intrusive /r/ available online:
Judith Broadbent - Linking and intrusive r in English (pdf)
Bente Rebecca Hannisdal - Variability and change in Received Pronunciation - Intrusive /r/ p. 169 (pdf)
M´arton S´oskuthy - Why R? An analogical approach to intrusive-r

And on a different note:
Bryan Gick - The American Intrusive /l/

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