The r sound in English – what you need to know.

Do you have trouble making the r sound in English?

You might be surprised to hear that a lot of people do!

In most languages the r sound (or ‘r’ sound) is made without the tongue actually making contact with any particular part of our mouth. This makes it difficult to learn.

In English the tongue tip is held up in the middle of the mouthtowards the roof of the mouth. Then the tongue tip is tightened and the voice is switched on at the same time. The sound is ‘resonated’ towards the tip of the tongue.

What you need to know:

  • It isn’t flapped or trilled near the front top teeth.
  • The vibration and movement isn’t at the base of the tongue.
  • To speak English more clearly you will have to learn the English ‘r’.
  • If you are speaking British or Australian English the ‘r’ is notpronounced in the following: er, ir, ur, or, wor, ar, ear – even though when written there is an ‘r’ letter there!!
  • If you are speaking American English the r sound is pronounced in the er, ir, ar etc.
  • The ‘l’ sound is made with tongue tip up at the front of your mouth near the front top teeth.  The ‘r is made in the middle of your mouth.
  • One way to get the right position is: Pretend you are lifting your tongue up to look underneath it. Hold the tongue in this position, tighten the tip and make sound.
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