How British and Americans pronounce 'er'

How British and Amer­i­cans pro­nounce ‘er’ dif­fer­ent­ly- audio les­son

As I lis­ten to audio assess­ments peo­ple have sent me, I notice there is some con­fu­sion regard­ing how British and Amer­i­cans pro­nounce ‘er’ dif­fer­ent­ly espe­cial­ly at the end of words.

If you are speak­ing with a British accent or Aus­tralian accent gen­er­al­ly, you don’t pro­nounce the /r/ sound when ‘er’ is at the end of words. The excep­tion is when you need to use the /r/ in a link­ing /r/ sit­u­a­tion.

If you are speak­ing with an Amer­i­can accent you do pro­nounce the /r/ sound in ‘er’  at the end of words.

Impor­tant: But here’s the con­fu­sion. Stu­dents who have learned Eng­lish with an Amer­i­can accent, do put the /r/ in to pro­nounce ‘er’ at the end of words, BUT they for­get to use an Amer­i­can /r/ sound. They often use the /r/ sound from their orig­i­nal lan­guage.

And, stu­dents who have learned Eng­lish with an Aus­tralian accent or British accent, don’t take the /r/ sound out to pro­nounce the final ‘er’. Or, they use their orig­i­nal /r/ sound when they use the link­ing /r/.

So here’s an audio les­son for you that you can prac­tise with:

How British and Amer­i­cans pro­nounce ‘er’ dif­fer­ent­ly-audio

 

Words and sen­tences

water           I need some water please.

mat­ter         It doesn’t mat­ter.

part­ner       His part­ner came to meet them.

defend­er     The pub­lic defend­er asked lots of ques­tions.

mea­ger        She count­ed her mea­ger sav­ings.

ham­mer      Put the ham­mer on the bench.

mix­er           He put the mix­er stick into the paint pot.

stick­er         Take the stick­er off the win­dow, please.

tiger             The tiger roamed men­ac­ing­ly around the vil­lage.

stop­per        Give me the glass stop­per.

los­er             I don’t want to be (wan­na be) the los­er this time.

 

Choose:- I want to speak more clear­ly in a…

British Accent

Aus­tralian Accent

Amer­i­can Accent

 

 

 

 

  • Joshua Thom­sen

    Do the Amer­i­cans have dif­fer­ent R sounds? To me at least, it sounds like the ‘er’ at the end of words, is lighter than if used in the mid­dle. Like burg­er, bird, herb and so on.

    • Hi Joshua, thanks for your ques­tion! There is only one ‘er’ sound in Amer­i­can Eng­lish. The ‘er’ sound in Amer­i­can Eng­lish is the same regard­less of whether it’s in the mid­dle of a word e.g. bird or if it’s at the end e.g. father. How­ev­er, some Amer­i­cans don’t pro­nounce ‘er’ at the end of words as strong­ly based on their dialect. For exam­ple New Yorker’s don’t always pro­nounce the ‘r’ at the end of words ful­ly so it would sound more like ‘brotha’ than ‘broth­er’. I hope this answers your ques­tion.

      • Joshua Thom­sen

        Yeah, that’s prob­a­bly what it is. Thanks for answer­ing my ques­tion!