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From New Latin rhōtacismus, from Ancient Greek *ῥωτακισμός (*rhōtakismós), from ῥωτακίζω (rhōtakízō, to incorrectly use rho), from ῥῶ (rhô, rho (the Greek equivalent of r)) in analogy with ἰωτακίζω (iōtakízō, to incorrectly use iota); this in turn from ἰῶτα (iôta) in analogy with ἀττικίζω (attikízō, talk like an Athenian). By surface analysis rho +‎ -tacism.





rhotacism (countable and uncountable, plural rhotacisms)

  1. An exaggerated use of the sound of the letter R.
  2. (countable, phonology) A linguistic phenomenon in which a consonant changes into an R, such as Latin flos becoming florem in the accusative case; rhotacization.
  3. Inability to pronounce the letter R; derhotacization.
    • 1970, Leland E. Hinsie, Robert Jean Campbell, Psychiatric Dictionary, Oxford University Press, page 711:
      For example: r’s may become burrs or guttural grunts or w’s or l’s (rhotacism); […]
    • 1976: Deafness, Speech, and Hearing Publications, Inc., of Gallaudet College & the American Speech and Hearing Association, DSH Abstracts, volumes 16–17 (1976–1977), page 289 (Deafness Speech and Hearing Publications)
      From the analysis of Kana writings, hypothesizes that the inability to establish a stable… […] The correction of rhotacism by means of an electric vibrator.
    • 2005: Bernard Fogel, PhD, CCC-SLP, Exercising the Rhotacism in Absence of Pathology (ADVANCE)
      It is universally accepted that the rhotacism, a defective utterance of the /r/ sounds, is usually the last and most difficult American English consonant to correct functionally.
      I use two methods to help correct the rhotacism.

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