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https://www.duolingo.com/Eriklover555

Rolled R's: French vs Spanish

I learned some French in high school, and in that class they taught us how to roll our R's in the back of our throats. In Spanish, however, the R's are supposed to be rolled in the front of the mouth.

I personally have a lot of trouble with the Spanish rolled R, and I find myself reverting back to the French version. Some people have told me that this is okay, and some people have said that it's absolutely wrong. What's all of your opinions on the subject?

4 years ago

15 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/idshanks
idshanks
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Where are you from? If you have a North American accent, the advice I give to my American cousins to try to mimic a Scottish accent might help (we roll the 'R' with the tips of our tongue too in our English language accent). North Americans often use what is known as a flap 't' when pronouncing the letter 't' in the middle of a word, such as in the word 'battle'. If you listen to a Scottish 'R' roller pronounce the word barrel, you'll notice that the sound of the 't' in NA Battle and the sound of the 'r' in Scottish barrel are similar.

http://www.forvo.com/word/battle/#en

http://www.forvo.com/word/barrel/#en (I posted a pronunciation under idshanks)

Play around with that consonant - try repeating it with varying looseness/tightness (there's a sweet zone where it works, so you really have to play with it), and play around with how much air pressure you use as you repeat the consonant. What you really want to learn is how to prolong that consonant, so that it trills rather than flaps.

I think the issue with trying to use the throaty 'R' in place of the tongue trill is that with the latter, you can fairly clearly make distinct pronunciations between single 'r' and double 'r' words. The throatier pronunciation is a much blurrier line. Beyond that, they really are distinct consonants that happen to be represented by the same letter in different languages.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eriklover555

I am from North America, so I'll definitely give this a shot. Thanks!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/idshanks
idshanks
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I'm still struggling to pronounce the German 'R' (which I believe is the same or similar to the French one) fluidly, so I know your pain on some level. :) I know that it is normal in some native accents of German (Bavarian I believe being the main one) to use the tongue-trilled 'R', but I am determined to master this damned throat 'R'! Hope it goes well for you. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eriklover555

Thank you, and I hope you get the hang of yours, too! ^^

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ontalor
Ontalor
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Stick with a more American R until you get it. It will take some time to figure it out; it took two years in school for me to finally be able to make the rolling R. People who speak Spanish will understand you if you do a French R, but it sounds as unnatural as someone using a French R in English.

I've heard from linguistics students that the rolling R is one of the hardest sounds to produce in any language and is the last sound native-speaking children master as they learn their own language. Just stick with it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/0liwia
0liwia
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We have rolled Rs in Polish too. Kids indeed do not pronounce it well; but I also know some adults who just cannot roll their Rs.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ontalor
Ontalor
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I wanna learn Russian too, and knowing it from Spanish has helped a lot, but sometimes I find in Russian they put the rolling R together with consonants that they never would in Spanish and it feels impossible all over again lol.

Do you mean you know some native speakers who just can't, or are they learning a second language with a rolling R? If it's native speakers, that would be fascinating, how would they accommodate?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/0liwia
0liwia
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No, just plain Poles. It happens, I know a few, it seems sometimes you "genetically" cannot put your tongue as to roll an R. How do they accommodate? well, they just don't roll it ^^ Actually, it does sound a bit like a French R. But since they have no accent apart from that, you just figure they are Poles who can't roll an R, and that's pretty much it. It doesn't make it harder to understand.

What I mean is, it's like "oh, he can't roll his Rs. Ok." And you just don't care. :-)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ontalor
Ontalor
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That's really cool to know. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eriklover555

Well, it's nice to know that it's not just me, then. Everyone else I know has managed it pretty much effortlessly, which is a bit of a downer for me.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LingPenguin
LingPenguin
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Something that I've found helps with rolled "r"s is to make use of all of the sounds in English that are similar and in the same location. To start with, make a nice "oh" sound (holding a note), and then, when you're ready, go on to "doh, doh, doh, doh, doh, doh", and so on, with the "d" sound simply being a break in the "oh", so that it's more like "dododododo", without a breath in between each "word". Now move on to adding "l"s in, saying "doh loh doh loh doh loh" and so on, with the same concept of the vowels simply popping in on top of the vowel. Once you've done that for a while and feel comfortable, move on to an "r". This "r" is just a flick of the tongue, in the same motion that you've been doing with "doh" and "loh" (in fact you've probably already done a few "r"s by accident already in this exercise). Anyway, add in the "r", and say "doh loh roh doh loh roh" and so on. You may sound like you're doing some sort of a satanic chant, but ideally you should get a few of those "r"s to be nice flipped "r"s. If you don't get any flipped "r"s, keep trying. If you spend a while doing this (let's say a day if you're devoting your entire life to it, or a week or two of doing this two or three times a day), then you should have your flipped "r"s perfect in no time.

Unfortunately, this technique will only get you flipped "r"s (which are represented by the letter "r" in Spanish). I don't know of an easy way to get rolled "r"s (which are represented by the letter "rr" in Spanish), but if you have the flipped "r" down really well then it should be fairly easy to work up to the rolled "r" (or tongue trill, or alveolar roll, or whatever you want to call it). The thing to watch out for that I ran into a lot of trouble with is that when I first thought that I was doing a rolled "r", I was actually doing the French guttural "r" and letting my tongue flap a bit in the rolled air from it. While some of the same muscles are at work, it should be a completely different sound, so don't confuse them. On the other hand, it would probably be better to do even a failed tongue trill than to use an English "r", since at least you'll have an "unidentifiable" accent instead of an obvious English one.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eriklover555

Thank you all, I'll keep trying then. I'm sure I'll pick it up, eventually.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elizabethelzby

You can try playing around with the sound of the d to try to get your tongue in the correct position (some people prefer to use an n). It took me a long time to be able to roll my r, and then it took lots of practice after that. Try making a light d sound- you will notice that your tongue touches a little bit further back than behind your front teeth. Practice making several d's in succession, then try gradually applying more air as you do so, and eventually you should be able to roll your r, or come very close to it, and you will eventually master it. But your tongue touches the hard palate behind your teeth.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ontalor
Ontalor
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The 'd' thing is a good idea, but eventually what you learn to do is kinda tense the back of your tongue, completely relax the tip of your tongue, and then blow air through to make it vibrate against the top of your mouth. It sounds super weird to describe it like that though lol.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sam.aurora

I grew up rolling my Spanish r so it's harder to roll my French r

8 months ago