Rhotacism (speech impediment)
This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
In medical contexts, rhotacism (//) is the inability to pronounce or difficulty in pronouncing r sounds. Speech pathologists call the condition de-rhotacism, or de-rhotacization, because the sounds lose their rhotic quality rather than becoming rhotic.
Rhotic sounds are usually the last ones a child masters. Some people never learn to produce them; they substitute other sounds, such as the velar approximant, the uvular approximant (often called the French R), and the uvular trill.
In English, the most common occurrence of this type is a pronunciation perceived as closer to [w] (typically, though, actually the labiodental approximant [ʋ]), which is known as r-labialisation. This form of rhotacism has often been used in English-language media for comedic effect, since it evokes among English speakers a childlike way of pronouncing the letter R, an example being Elmer Fudd's pronunciation of "rabbit" [ˈɹ̠ʷæbɪ̈t] as "wabbit" [ˈwæbɪ̈t] in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. Often, people with the condition are mistakenly referred to as a person with a lisp, which is a different speech pattern.
Rhotacism is more common among speakers of languages that have a trilled R, such as Arabic, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Czech, Finnish, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Dutch, and Swedish (except in the provinces of Skåne, Halland, Blekinge, Öland and southern Småland).
In Czech language there is a specific type of rhotacism called rotacismus bohemicus which is an inability to pronounce the specific letter /ř/ [r̝] which is even more stressed than R sound and is unique and specific only for Czech language. For more info about this letter read Voiced alveolar fricative trill.
Public personalities with rhotacism
This section needs additional citations for verification. (December 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- Isaac Arthur
- Sister Wendy Beckett
- John Berger
- Jeremy Brett
- Yaron Brook
- Teresa Leger Fernandez, 2020 candidate for New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District
- Kay Francis
- Robert Gascoyne-Cecil
- Roy Hodgson
- Roy Jenkins
- Terry Jones, member of the Monty Python comedy troupe
- Edward Ka-Spel
- Vladimir Lenin, Russian revolutionary and Soviet leader
- Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, Senior British Army officer who fought in both the First World War and the Second World War.
- The leader of Hezbollah, Lebanese Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah, has been ridiculed for his rhotacism, particularly his “*Amwīka” and “*Iswā’īl” for Arabic Amrīka ("America"), Isrā’īl ("Israel").
- Irina Odoyevtseva
- Chris Packham, British naturalist and television presenter
- Jonathan Ross, British television and radio presenter
- Matt Bellamy, British musician
- Chris "Mad Dog" Russo
- Lucy Worsley
- King George VI of the United Kingdom
In popular culture
- Elmer Fudd in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies.
- Barry Kripke in The Big Bang Theory is depicted as having this speech impediment. However, he has problems with both "R" and "L" sounds. His Siri on his iPhone answers him back as "Bawwy". He is last seen in Season 11 episode "The Bow Tie Asymmetry", at the end of the wedding, singing the song "At Last" as "At Wast".
- In the 1979 film Monty Python's Life of Brian, Pilate (played by Michael Palin) is also depicted as having this speech impediment. Because of this, people around him often cannot understand his words, and he is mocked by the townspeople of Jerusalem when he talks to them in the square.
- In the 1986 animated film An American Tail, the character Gussie Mouseheimer (voiced by Madeline Kahn) also replaces 'R' and 'L' with 'W', similar to Elmer Fudd, especially when saying the word 'rally', pronouncing it as 'wawwy'.
- In the 1974 film Blazing Saddles, Madeline Kahn again played a character with a speech impediment, this time the singer Lili von Shtüpp, the "Teutonic Titwillow".
- In the 1987 film The Princess Bride, the character known as The Impressive Clergyman (played by Peter Cook), also has problems with multiple sounds, including "R" and "L", pronouncing "marriage" as "mawwage".
- Tony Angelino, a one-time character from Only Fools and Horses, suffered from rhotacism, becoming apparent during his stage performance of the Roy Orbison song "Crying".
- Homestar Runner from Homestar Runner.
- Baby Bear in Sesame Street also has this trait.
- Ming-Ming in Wonder Pets!
- Jimmy Five from Monica's Gang replaces 'R' with 'W' in the English version, except for the 'R' in words like 'car' or 'hair'. In the original Portuguese version, he replaces 'R' with 'L'.
- Napoleon Brie in the original Biker Mice from Mars.
- Greta from the Spyro series speaks this way in all of her appearances. Her brother Handel possesses an identical speech impediment in Spyro: Year of the Dragon, but not in Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage or the Spyro Reignited Trilogy
- Beck in the 2019 song "Uneventful Days", he pronounces the word "neverending" with a rhotic R.
- Alexandra Kristoff, one of Katlin Manchester's alter-egos.
- In the 2019 English localization and voicework for Trials of Mana, Charlotte was given a speech quirk that replaces both L and R with W, also twisting other words to read correctly with the same quirk (e.g. "It could be dangewous. I can't wet Heath face it awone!").
- In the 2008 video game Fallout 3, a character named Billy is nicknamed Biwwy for his speech impediment.
|Look up rhotacism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Lambdacism, the equivalent condition with L /l/.
- Perception of English /r/ and /l/ by Japanese speakers
- Stinchfield, Sara M (1933). "Speech Disorders: A PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDY of the Various Defects of Speech". Routledge. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
rhotacism for difficulty on the r sounds
- Arthur, Isaac (8 April 2016). Fermi Paradox: The Dyson Dilemma v2.0. YouTube. Event occurs at 0:54. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
- McFadden, Robert D. (December 26, 2018). "Sister Wendy Beckett, Nun Who Became a BBC Star, Dies at 88" – via NYTimes.com.
- "The Story of the Eye". www.bookforum.com.
- Brook, Yaron (3 January 2018). Yaron's News Briefing Episode 12: Yaron's move & What to do about Iran. YouTube.
- "Commitment 2020: Democratic Candidate Forum CD3". KOAT Action 7 News. Hearst Television, Inc. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
- "'You Must Remember This' podcast inspires art". The Spectrum & Daily News.
- Finnerty, Deirdre (3 May 2012). "Roy Hodgson: Is it wrong to mock the way he speaks?". BBC News. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
- "30 YEARS OF MORSE ONSCREEN | Damian Michael Barcroft".
- Arsan, Andrew (2018). Lebanon: A Country in Fragments. London: Hurst & Company. ISBN 978-1-84904-700-5.
- "Chiwenga suffers from a rare condition". Bulawayo24 News.
- "My days and thoughts....: Mubarak and Asad: two dictators but..."
- Radio's New Wave: Global Sound in the Digital Era. Routledge. 2013. p. 156. ISBN 978-1-136-44630-6.
- "Chris "Mad Dog" Russo Is Really Upset That Joe Girardi Blew Him Off, But Why?". Deadspin.
- Jones, Ellen E. (6 April 2014). "Lucy Worsley: The TV historian on BBC's The First Georgians, David Starkey and why she'll never appear on Strictly Come Dancing". The Independent. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
- Schuessler, Jennifer (23 May 2014). "New Online Magazine Honors the Mighty Schwa". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
- "The Princess Bride (1987)". IMDb. Retrieved 21 January 2019.