The "R" pronounciation

Not open for further replies.


Dear teachers,

I see you are from several places where English is spoken, so maybe you can solve this doubt. Is the R pronounced in words like: GIRL, WORLD, BORN, BURT, ... when studying phonetics, I studied them as silent "r", but usage could be different, Is there any difference between British and American English in pronouncing them?

thanks in advance

lupita :oops:


Feb 9, 2003
Member Type
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I pronounce the r in all those words.



Junior Member
Apr 26, 2004
Member Type
English Teacher
This sound in some countries is taught as an approximate r, and in others as a retroflex r.

The difference is that one sounds like a strong r (the way americans usually pronounce it) and the other sounds more like a vowel. The strong form would be the retroflex r. When it is pronounced, the tounge is bent backwards and points to the back of your throat (this can be a more or less forced movement).

The other type of r, called approximate, is also an r, but sounds closer to a vowel, because, the tounge is only slightly raised to the roof of the mouth, without any necessary contact. The fact that the tounge doesn't necessarily touch the roof of the mouth makes it sound less like an r (the way british speakers tend to pronounce) but it is still an r.

Any native speaker will tell you that they pronounce all their r's, but they each do it their own way!!
Not open for further replies.