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English Pronunciation: Speak the R

To speak the American English R sound, make sure the tip of your tongue does not touch the roof of your mouth. Your tongue should be tense and your throat should be a little tight. You do not want to trill the R as many languages do. The American R is a strong, straight sound. If you have difficulty avoiding the trill, tense your tongue more. If you are used to pronouncing the R another way, it can take some effort to learn the American R sound. Don't give up--just keep practicing. To practice with videos, see 500 Words: R Sounds. To make sure your pronunciation is correct, take an online class.

R Sound Chart

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British vs. A
merican R

In British English and some southern US dialects, the R sound is dropped when it is in the middle or at the end of a word. In standard American English, no R sounds are dropped. Pronounce all R sounds, whether the R is the first letter, a letter in the middle or the last letter.

Trilled R vs. A
merican R

To make the trilled R, your tongue is relaxed and the tip of the tongue taps the roof of the mouth one or several times (depending on your language). To make the American R, you need to avoid having your tongue touch the roof (the top) of your mouth. Tensing the tongue should do this. Concentrate on tensing the back of the tongue--this should cause the front of the tongue to be tense also. Make your throat a little tight. This will help with tensing the tongue as well. Then you need to practice a lot--you are using muscles in your tongue which need to become stronger.

Learn More

R Sounds: 500 Words

R Sound Conversation

R and L Words: TOEFL Prep

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