The Spanish letter R is easy to pronounce but is often mispronounced by English speakers. Here are some tips for getting it right.
Time Required: 10 minutes
- Keep in mind that there are two R sounds in Spanish: the single R sound and the double R (or RR) sound.
- Keep in mind that the single R sound is used whenever the single R appears in a word, except when it's at the beginning of a word or after an L, N or S, when the RR sound is used.
- Keep in mind that the Spanish R doesn't have the distinctive R sound of English. Think of it as a separate letter entirely.
- Remember that the single R is pronounced with a single flap of the tongue against the roof of mouth.
- Say these words rapidly as you would if they were English words, and with the accent on the first syllable: peddo, pahdah, cahdah.
- Congratulate yourself. You have approximately pronounced the Spanish words pero (but), para (for) and cara (face).
- Note similarly that in English many words that have T or TT between vowels have the same sound, which is different than the T in "today." Examples are "cattle," "bitter" and "attic."
- Practice using the same sound in other positions. For example, to say primo (cousin), rapidly say "pdee-mo," but pronounce the "d" by hitting your tongue against the roof of your mouth.
- Again congratulate yourself. You're on your way to learning this sound.
- You can hear the r pronounced by native speakers in our audio lesson on pronouncing the r . Words spoken in that lesson are pero (but), caro (expensive), primo (cousin), tres (three), señor (Mr.) and hablar (to speak).
- You can also get advice from About.com readers on pronouncing the r.
- Try to imitate the sound of the R as it is pronounced by native speakers.
- Don't even be tempted to pronounce the R as it is pronounced in English.