Guillermo (bluebeard) wrote in linguaphiles,
Guillermo
bluebeard
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/r/ + /h/ + /l/

In the book series A Song of Ice and Fire by G.R.R. Martin there's a red priestess called Melisandre. She worships some red god called "R'hllor". The book doesn't say anything about the fictional language of Asshai (the place where she's from), but even so... how the fuck do you even pronounce it? Any ASOIAF fans in this comm.? Come out, come out, wherever you are. :D More importantly... would that name even be phonetically realizable? (Assuming ‘r’ is a trill or tap, ‘h’ is a velar, uvular or glottal fricative, and ‘ll’ is a liquid).

Do we know of any language that allows /r/ + /h/ + /l/? If I recall correctly, I believe Ancient Greek had /r/ + /h/ (or /x/?), hence 'rh'. And there was /h/ + /l/ in Old Norse. At any rate, I've never heard of a language that allows /r/ + /h/ + /l/ in word-initial position. I haven't a clue what that apostrophe in R'hllor stands for, but I don't reckon it's a glottal stop. I mean, /r/ + /ʔ/ + /h/ + /l/ = LOL. Do any Slavic languages allow this consonant cluster? I know Czech and Polish have 'ch' [x] + 'l', and /l/ or /r/ can be the nucleus of a syllable...

Anyways, I can almost pronounce "R'hllor", but it just sounds off and unnatural. So I guess you could say that maybe it's phonetically realizable but I'm more interested in knowing whether there's a language that does, in fact, allow this sound sequence. Would the trill being voiceless help? I've no clue how to make that, but apparently Icelandic and Welsh have a voiceless /r/, so there's that, lol.
Tags: howdoyousay, icelandic, phonetics, pronunciation, slavic, welsh
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