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.

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Comments 8

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

  2. Do the Americans have two 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.

    1. 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.

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