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  1. #1
    Anne59 is offline Member
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    Default Letter R silent or not silent?

    I found the following:-

    carrot is r [not silent]
    cry is r [not silent]
    friend is r [not silent]
    free is r [not silent]
    garden is r [silent]
    hear is r [silent]
    German is r [silent]
    here is r [silent]
    four is r [silent]
    learn is r [silent]

    but I don't understand when R is silent or not? Is there a rule or can anyone explain it to me?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Letter R silent or not silent?

    The r is not silent in any of the words you mentioned, nor is it ever silent (that I know of).

  3. #3
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Letter R silent or not silent?

    Ron, you haven't lived in New England, where I'm called "Bahb."

    R's that follow a vowel sound will sometimes fade away. I believe officially it's called the "non-pre-vocalic r."

    The R in carrot is clearly pronounced because of the second syllable.

    R's that are end the end of the word can fade away as well, or take an "uh" sound.
    Dear sounds like dee-uh and beer sounds like bee-uh. But this is distinctive to certain areas.

    However, I would pronounce the R in all of those, as Ron would. (Even though when someone calls out "Bob!" I still turn around.)

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Letter R silent or not silent?

    The R is much less pronounced in England and Wales.

  5. #5
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Letter R silent or not silent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Ron, you haven't lived in New England, where I'm called "Bahb."

    R's that follow a vowel sound will sometimes fade away. I believe officially it's called the "non-pre-vocalic r."

    The R in carrot is clearly pronounced because of the second syllable.

    R's that are end the end of the word can fade away as well, or take an "uh" sound.
    Dear sounds like dee-uh and beer sounds like bee-uh. But this is distinctive to certain areas.

    However, I would pronounce the R in all of those, as Ron would. (Even though when someone calls out "Bob!" I still turn around.)
    My sister once lived in Massachusetts for a while (we're both from St. Louis), and I as I recall, she said that people there told her that she talks funny.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Letter R silent or not silent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anne59 View Post
    I found the following:-

    carrot is r [not silent]
    cry is r [not silent]
    friend is r [not silent]
    free is r [not silent]
    garden is r [silent]
    hear is r [silent]
    German is r [silent]
    here is r [silent]
    four is r [silent]
    learn is r [silent]

    but I don't understand when R is silent or not? Is there a rule or can anyone explain it to me?

    Thanks
    I can see your difficulty here! Whether or not you hear the "R" will depend on who's saying the word. A Scot would pronounce all of the words you give as example with a distinctly audible "R", as would a Cornishman. It's a regional thing.
    Moggy

  7. #7
    seba_870701 is offline Member
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    Cool Re: Letter R silent or not silent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anne59 View Post
    I found the following:-

    carrot is r [not silent]
    cry is r [not silent]
    friend is r [not silent]
    free is r [not silent]
    garden is r [silent]
    hear is r [silent]
    German is r [silent]
    here is r [silent]
    four is r [silent]
    learn is r [silent]

    but I don't understand when R is silent or not? Is there a rule or can anyone explain it to me?

    Thanks
    In RP most of the R's are silent. They disaapear before consonants and at the ends of words. R's are audible when occur between vowels or when folled by a vowel. Hence:
    carrot is r [not silent]
    cry is r [not silent]
    friend is r [not silent]
    free is r [not silent]
    (all of R's are folled by vowels in examples above)
    In the following examples R's are muted beacuse they're preceeded by vowels which turned to be longer thanks to disapearing R's.
    garden is r [silent] --> /ɑ:/
    German is r [silent] --> /ɜ:/
    four is r [silent] --> /ɔ:/
    learn is r [silent] --> /ɜ:/
    Finally, R's in the following exaples turn into vowel schwa /ə/
    hear is r [silent] --> /hɪə/
    here is r [silent] --> /hɪə/
    I hope it helps at least a little

  8. #8
    Buddhaheart is offline Member
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    Default Re: Letter R silent or not silent?

    We have a restaurant ad running in some of our TV channels in which the announcer is I believe British. It’s very distinct to hear how the end ‘r’ were dropped in words like “texture” & “adventure” in RP English as Tdol & Seba indicated.

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Letter R silent or not silent?

    It's not universal in Britain- England and Wales tend to be non-rhotic (don't pronounce the R) and Scotland is generally rhotic.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Letter R silent or not silent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    It's not universal in Britain- England and Wales tend to be non-rhotic (don't pronounce the R) and Scotland is generally rhotic.
    This also applies to parts of Lancashire, most the West Country, almost all of Northern Ireland and parts of Norfolk and Suffolk. It has to be said that RP is hacking away at these accents, and I've no doubt they'll disappear in time...more's the pity.

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