Tuesday 7 October 2014


I'm sorry if I'm boring you with my repeated analysis of Canon Tilby's radio broadcast. Today I'd like to look at her use of r-liaison (aka linking r). (I won't go into unetymological r-liaison/intrusive r.) Canon Tilby is a speaker of GB - an accent of low rhoticity.

We find three possibilities in her address. A word ends in the letter <r> and
  1. the following word begins with a glottal stop plus vowel; no /r/ is pronounced;
  2. the following word begins with a vowel; no /r/ is pronounced though the two words are linked;
  3. the following word begins with a vowel; the /r/ is sounded.
ad 1) "[...] a strong sense of their ʔown desirability [...]."

ad 2) "The undercover journalist was working fo(r) a Sunday paper [...]."

ad 3) "[...] a psychic space where desire and fear play themselves out [...]."

In total there are 12 phrases in her address in which r-liaison would be possible. Out of these eight phrases contain a word-initial glottal stop (= case 1). Case 2 appears only once and proper r-linking (case 3) is to be heard three times. The large number of glottal stops, which prevent r-liaison, is probably due to the fairly formal speech style unless it's a general habit of hers.


  1. Not boring Petr, useful documentation.

    The term liaison-r was introduced in the belief that linking r and intrusive r are really the same phenomenon. Can we conclude that she has no intrusive r, or have you just not got round to it yet? If she has linking r but not intrusive r, then perhaps they are two independent processes after all.

    The glottal stops are probably habitual, they have to be initiated from the brain. But it can still be her habitual formal style.

  2. @Sidney Wood One of the findings of Hannissal's study was that intrusive R is less likely when the speaker is reading from a written script, since the absence of orthographic R is more salient. I assume that this broadcast was scripted.

    1. vp, I agree this broadcast was probably scripted (little to go on in this posting, but Petr has quoted more in the others, and the syntax doesn't look like spontaneous speech). I'm sorry, I failed to find the explanation you quote from Hannisdal ("since the absence of orthographic R is more salient"). The explanation she suggested (she never actually studied the causal aspects) was the very strict formality of broadcasting situations where stigmatized phenomena tend to be avoided, even when no longer banned. Perhaps we were looking in different places? I looked in her thesis (2006), but it was in the middle of the night.