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Spanish is considered one of the languages you can learn easily.
Well, perhaps not too easily, because like in any other language, there are some tricky parts, especially for English speakers.
Besides Spanish verbs and the subjunctive mood anyone gives a headache, one especially challenging part in learning Spanish is to learn to pronounce the Spanish ‘rr’ sound.
That ‘rr’ sound is rolled ‘r’ that can be quite hard sometimes to pronounce properly. English speakers are too familiar with this.
So, if you are among the ones who already struggle to pronounce this sound properly, the one who already tried practicing with fun and effective Spanish games and Spanish tutors, and if you are only a step away from giving up learning the language, stop right there.
With the right practice and our tips, you will learn to successfully make that famous, rolled Spanish ‘rr’ sound.
And now, let’s learn how to do it.
The letter ‘r’ in Spanish is thrilled or rolled, which doesn’t exist in English.
That’s why English speakers struggle to pronounce it.
In Spanish, this sound is produced by the vibration of the tongue which is placed on the roof of the mouth, making it sound rolled.
The Spanish r has two different variations: the single r and the double rr, or rolled rr.
The ‘r’ sound can be found in a word in the following two situations:
Double ‘rr’ in the middle of a word, such as ‘zorro’ (fox), ‘cerro’ (hill), or ‘arroz’ (rice).
In situations when a word begins with ‘r’ like ‘rosa’ (rose) or ‘rabia’ (anger).
To learn how to pronounce the Spanish ‘r’ sound like a native, first you have to get used to the ‘r’ sound generally.
For a start, try practicing the soft ‘r’ sound.
That sound also exists in Spanish words. It is usually placed anywhere in a word where there is one ‘r’ letter or at the end of a word.
But how will you pronounce it easily?
Use your English knowledge and pronunciation.
Start with pronouncing the letter ‘d’ . Have you noticed that when you say it, you are actually touching the roof of your mouth? That means that you are on a good way to pronounce the ‘r’ sound.
After you’ve managed to pronounce the soft r sound, now it’s time to get a little ‘higher.’
When you pronounce the soft sound, try making that sound twice in a row.
Then try three times in a row and be a little faster.
Do you feel a vibration between your tongue and the roof of your mouth? That’s you trying to make a tougher, rolled r sound.
After practicing it several times in a row, you won’t even notice that your r sound has already started to roll a little bit.
When you produce an English r sound, you don't touch the roof of your mouth to pronounce it. There's no vibration, therefore you can't produce the Spanish r.
The most important tip before you start practicing is to take out of your head the English r. Act like you don't speak the language at all and you don't know how to say the English r sound.
To make sure your tongue can produce the right sound, put it behind your front teeth and then slowly move to the back of your mouth. After the soft part of your roof of the mouth, you will feel the harder part. That's where the tongue can make a proper rolled r.
Did you know that songs and singing in Spanish are beneficial not only for your health and positivity but also to improve your level of proficiency?
Spanish songs are an ideal solution to help you practice the Spanish rr sound.
Besides being fun to sing and dance, singing and pronouncing the r sound helps you just like a practice with real people.
Try some of the catchy Spanish songs to sing along with singers and you'll know what it is all about.
Tongue twisters are funny but useful little helpers in practicing pronunciation.
There are plenty of Spanish tongue twisters that can help you with the Spanish rr.
Here are some of them:
El perro de Rita me irrita dile a Rita que cambie el perro por una perrita. (Rita's dog irritates me. Tell Rita to change the dog for a puppy. )
Erre con erre cigarro, erre con erre barril. Rápido corren los carros, sobre los rieles del ferrocarril. (R with R cigar, R with R barrel. Quickly run the carriages on the rails of the railway.)
Si don Curro ahorra ahora, ahora ahorra don Curro. (If Mr. Curro saves now, now saves Mr. Curro.)
You've surely heard that many language learners use YouTube for learning languages.
You too can start using Spanish YouTube channels to practice the Spanish rr sound.
There are many efficient Youtube videos related to this matter.
Almost all the videos that explain the rr sound pronunciation are made the way you first listen to the explanations on how to produce the sound correctly and then try by yourself.
Here are some of the videos:
How to Trill Your R’s — You Already Know How! By It’s Elissa, not Alyssa
How to Trill Your R by Latintutorial
How to Trill Your R’s by the Linguisticator
Don't think that you can learn to pronounce the RR sound in less than a day, especially if you still struggle ‘to forget’ the English r.
It takes time and practice to get to the point when you can be proud of your perfect Spanish rolled rr.
However, with these 6 handy tips and the help of Spanish tutors, you can succeed in it.
Feel free to give it a try, make mistakes, and sound silly while you are practicing.
All those steps are close to your perfectly pronounced Spanish RR sound.
The letter ‘r’ in Spanish is thrilled or rolled, which doesn’t exist in English. That’s why English speakers struggle to pronounce it. In Spanish, this sound is produced by the vibration of the tongue which is placed on the roof of the mouth, making it sound rolled. The Spanish r has two different variations: the single r and the double rr, or rolled rr. The ‘r’ sound can be found in a word in the following two situations: Double ‘rr’ in the middle of a word, such as ‘zorro’ (fox), ‘cerro’ (hill), or ‘arroz’ (rice). In situations when a word begins with ‘r’ like ‘rosa’ (rose) or ‘rabia’ (anger).
Try Making The Soft ‘r’ Sound, Make The ‘R’ Twice in a Row, Make Sure Your Tongue Is In The Right Place, Sing the R Sound, Tongue Twisters As A Must
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