September 25th, 2008

flower

Alveolar approximant

I am just wondering why the 'English r' is known as an alveolar approximant. It is described here, where it says that the place of articulation is the alveolar ridge. When I make this sound, my tongue tip is nowhere near my alveolar ridge. The sides of my tongue are against the insides of my upper back teeth, and the tip of my tongue is quite far back, at the highest part of my palate, and it is retracted and pointed upward. Yet the 'r' sound I make is quite typical. Is this unusual that my tongue is in this position, or is this common? Do some people have their tongue close to the alveolar ridge?