Accents and Rs

Hi ! I’m newbie , 4 challenges in over a couple of days . I’ve got to say this is getting addictive already !
I cannot get to grips with the r sound . Some sound trilled and some don’t. I don’t know when to use which and I’m also struggling with the rolling of the r anyway. Internet videos are not helping ! Does it matter this early on ?
Also , my hubby , not critically , said it sounds as though I’m putting a Spanish accent on . I don’t watch the videos I listen to them in the car and essentially base my learning on how Rosa sounds . Am I setting myself up for problems learning that way ?
Thanks in advance

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Hi Bex, and a warm welcome to the forum… :slight_smile:

That’s an awesome start! Well DONE. Keep that up (without getting caught in the trap of repeating the lessons too much) and you’ll be doing some brilliant stuff in just the next two or three weeks… :star: :star2:

Don’t worry, that’s very common for people who don’t speak a language/dialect with a trilled R. It’s very rarely vital for communication - perhaps the best way to practice (because you actually need to strengthen some muscles in your tongue!) is to try and get the trill going in words like bRead, where the shape of your mouth from the B gives you a little bit of a boost… when you can say bRRRRRRead, then you’ll know you’re ready to start trying to say it without the helping B. It’s a good idea to make it a daily exercise, too - because you’re actually doing muscle work here - so aim for a 5 or 10 second trill just after you brush your teeth… :slight_smile:

But don’t worry about progress - if you make it a daily exercise, you WILL eventually get there… :slight_smile:

As for ‘putting a Spanish accent on’ - that’s a great way to approach it! It will feel and sound odd to begin with, but eventually it will form the basis of what will become your real Spanish accent… :slight_smile:


I can’t roll the Rs at all - have watched countless youtube videos on “trilling” and read web pages and looked at diagrams, I’ve tried that putting the tip of the tongue in roof of mouth behind teeth and pushing air out - sounds stupid but definitely not a trill. I am getting seriously frustrated with it now :frowning: :rage:

Any tips other than the things I’ve tried and failed at?

It sounds to me as though it might be time for you to park it for a while, and stop thinking about it - it’s not going to stop people from understanding you, so it really isn’t the end of the world.

[Or one last throw of the dice - try and find a toddler and play going ‘bRRRRooom bRRRRooom’ with some cars until you’re both laughing… :slight_smile: ]

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Here are some tips, coming from someone who can barely pronounce an “r” in English (for some reason it sounds more like a “w”).

Fear of that rolling “r” is actually the single reason I never took Spanish when younger and which prevented me from even trying for decades. But after a lot of repeating Synergy Spanish I found myself doing the single “r.” Start with consonant blends, such as “hambre.” For the “b” and the “r” blend instead pronounce “b” followed by “d” followed by “r.” Then repeat, faster. AM BUH dRAY That added “d” will give you a little flick of the tongue! Your mouth will get used to that formation even when there is only a single “r” and it will sound good! The single “r” is the gateway to double "r"s later.

I had my double “r” breakthrough while listening to “Learn in your car Spanish” by Henry Raymond (Penton Overseas or Global Advantage). A little like SSIS, they shoot off a lot of words in rapid fire (which purchasers complain about but I thought was great) so there isn’t any time to be coddled or to dawdle in. Fast single "r"s in succession happened in a couple of places and before I knew it I had accidentally rolled a double r.

Like Mihalis Eleftheriou from Language Transfer says, just forget about it! It only comes when the tongue is relaxed, so stressing about it is counter-productive. Just keep speaking out loud and rapidly and listen to a lot of native speakers. It will come. But definitely having those “learn in your car” CD’s helped. As will this course.