The origin of the Germanic uvular [R]



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My purpose in this thesis is to investigate and evaluate the scholarship dealing with the origin and spread of uvular [R] in Germany. The first and earliest set of arguments I will examine are from Moritz Trautmann and H. A. Basilius, who, among others, contend that the uvular [R] is non-Germanic in origin and was borrowed from the French. The second set of arguments are from Herbert Penzl, William Moulton and Richard M. Runge, who argue that the uvular [R] is inherently Germanic. While it is virtually impossible to determine one precise date or reason for this sound change, a critical evaluation of each argument, along with examples from other Germanic dialects and languages will show that uvular [R] was already present in the German language prior to the period in which it was supposed to have been borrowed from French.