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Are there any linguists out there....?

(19 Posts)
Prokupatuscrakedatus Tue 14-Jul-20 18:07:20

Thanks for the link - I'll work at it smile

In the middle or at the end of words it's a vowel and at the beginning it's a very weak sound made at the back (I failed phonetic dictation 2 times at uni last century). Very unlike any proper 'r'.

RomeoLikedCapuletGirls Tue 14-Jul-20 17:26:54


Sorry I meant to tag you not me (for the above post) !!!

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RomeoLikedCapuletGirls Tue 14-Jul-20 17:25:56


This is a good one for the trilled R.

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thenewaveragebear1983 Tue 14-Jul-20 16:28:49

And I agree, I teach English to Polish and Hungarian students and they urrrr and ummmmm in a very 'English' way! (Although they sometimes say 'errr how to say?' Which I also find fascinating because they do that in second language not first)

thenewaveragebear1983 Tue 14-Jul-20 16:26:04

Dredging up from my degree linguistics module, I vaguely recall them being called 'errslums', or thinking time markers.

lazylinguist Tue 14-Jul-20 14:49:24

I am currently struggeling with the 'r' sound in Turkish or Italian ´, my German regional variety has no 'r' sound at all!!

No 'r' sound at all, not even at the beginning of words? confused

RomeoLikedCapuletGirls Tue 14-Jul-20 14:28:52

Oh I know it's hard isn't it! We don't have it in English either. I learnt it by saying "lalalalalal" over and over to get my tongue in the right position then letting rip and giving it a good puff of air!

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BunnyBerries Tue 14-Jul-20 14:18:54


BunnyBerries Tue 14-Jul-20 14:18:18

If you look up the 'schwa', I think this may be related. Most unstressed syllables in English can be pronounced as the schwa and Wikipedia says "In relation to certain languages, the name "schwa" and the symbol ə may he used for some other unstressed and timeless neutral vowel, not necessarily mud-central."

lazylinguist Tue 14-Jul-20 13:49:08

I think it's quite hard to get rid of your native fillers and adopt the ones from another language because, almost by definition, fillers are more automatic and less consciously used than proper words. I speak and teach several languages, but my English fillers definitely still creep in.

Prokupatuscrakedatus Tue 14-Jul-20 13:44:16

I think amateur youtubers help, they talk about their interests in a natural way.
German fillers are regional, DH sounds totally different from me or from my DC (DC are born "Berliners"). And then there are the end tags like woll, gell, ne, etc which are regional, too.

I am currently struggeling with the 'r' sound in Turkish or Italian ´, my German regional variety has no 'r' sound at all!!

Cherrysoup Tue 14-Jul-20 12:45:27

Filler, hesitator.

RomeoLikedCapuletGirls Tue 14-Jul-20 12:10:06


Yes, that's what I mean. I was in a Spanish class where a lot of the (English) students had really strong English accents and they would also interject with "um", "er" etc. Their fillers hadn't changed at all and their dipthongization of the single vowel sounds in Spanish made me cringe!

So I reckon that if you're learning a foreign language, part of the challenge is to get into the native "resting" vowel sound to make yourself sound authentic and to help you reach those more difficult notes, for me the spanish R trilled against the upper dental /alveolar ridge.

What does the German filler sound like?

And if you want to sound English (assuming from your post that you're native German) just throw in a lot of "uhhhm"s and "errr"s in grin

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Prokupatuscrakedatus Tue 14-Jul-20 11:03:20

I wonder - if you speak a foreign language does the filler change, too?

Or are my fillers still German no matter what language I attempt to speak? They do not teach you fillers. Teachers always want complete sentences.

RomeoLikedCapuletGirls Tue 14-Jul-20 10:49:22

Yes, maybe it is a filler! You know, when someone is thinking of a word. I guess ours in English would be "er" or "mmm".

I just think it's interesting to know because I know it sounds daft but getting your mouth into that "filler" position helps me to reach the difficult sounds of a language, IYSWIM!

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Prokupatuscrakedatus Tue 14-Jul-20 10:43:14

Filler = Gesprächspartikel in German linguistic terminology

GoshHashana Tue 14-Jul-20 10:08:57

Filler, I think.

My husband is Israeli, and the Hebrew one is a really exaggerated bleating "eihhhh"!

dustyphoenix Tue 14-Jul-20 09:48:27

Do you mean fillers? The sounds speakers make to demonstrate attention or hold conversational turns?

RomeoLikedCapuletGirls Tue 14-Jul-20 09:39:18

If so, can you help me find the word for something. I was having a conversation with my Spanish friend and was trying to describe it but failing miserably! Here goes..

Every language has a certain that its speakers make when rested/ in between words, sentences, whatever. It goes along with the phonological(?) nature of the sounds that they make regularly in that particular language.

So for French it's "uh" (mid vowel, lips forward, a schwah sound). For Spanish it's "eh" , (mouth stretched wider, tongue near roof of mouth).

My question is: is there a linguistic term for this sound?

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