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Thread: Proper R sound

  1. #1
    sharkerr's Avatar
    sharkerr is offline Newbie
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    Default Proper R sound

    Hi guys,

    No I'm at total loss when it comes to pronounce an English R.

    Some of teachers say that to make proper R sound you need to curl you tongue:
    SPEECH: R set 1 - YouTube

    But some others like:
    English: How to Pronounce R [?] Consonant: American Accent - YouTube
    (0:42) say that actually curling your tongue is an incorrect version of R !

    I'm obviously hopeless at this, so any hints would be more than welcomed!

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Proper R sound

    There are more variations of /r/ than of any other consonant phoneme in English. It can be an approximant [ɾ], an alveolar tap [ɹ] or (with more retroflexion) [ ʈ], a lingual trill [r], an uvular trill [ʀ], or an uvular fricative [ʁ]. You'll just have to go with the the /r/ that your teacher or coursebook CD presents.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Proper R sound

    (Not a Teacher)

    I feel the tip of my tongue curling back whenever I make an "r" sound, if it's anything to you. I'm a southern AmE speaker.

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    N Senbei is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Proper R sound

    Hello sharkerr,

    I’m not a native speaker of English, sorry, but I think this blog post by John Wells, a notable phonetician, indirectly answers your question.
    John Wells?s phonetic blog: bunched/molar r
    In short, both types of /r/, a retroflex (curled) R and a bunched R, are commonly used by native speakers of English, and both types of /r/ sound almost the same.
    So it is incorrect to say “curling your tongue is an incorrect version of R.”

  5. #5
    thatone is offline Member
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    Default Re: Proper R sound


  6. #6
    N Senbei is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Proper R sound

    Somehow my previous post hasn’t shown up yet, so I'm trying it again…

    Hello sharkerr,

    There are mainly two types of articulations in English /r/.
    One is a retroflex R (this includes a retroflex approximant and an alveolar approximant, your tongue tip is curling or pointing up in this type of R), and the other is a bunched R (also known as a molar R) which is the articulation recommended in the second video in your post.
    Both types of /r/ are commonly used by native speakers of English, and both types of /r/ sound almost the same.
    So it is incorrect to say “curling your tongue is an incorrect version of R.”

  7. #7
    kiezel52 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Proper R sound

    It really doesn't matter how you pronounce it. It changes depending on your location. (USA, UK, varies from cities to cities in UK as well.)

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