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unable to pronounce the double r in Spanish

For the life of me I can not perform an alveolar trill, or the Spanish rr. I have tried and failed so many times until my throat was sore, and it's discouraging me from even continuing to study this language. Is there a linguistic substitute I can use that sounds similar? Does it matter if I just pronounce the rr as it is in English and ignore the proper pronunciation? I'm reading that countless people have this same problem so it should be acceptable to not execute this sound properly if they are incapable of it, but got everything else dead on.

May 21, 2016



i'm a native speaker and it's difficult to me too so please don't feel bad for it. i think that if you pronounce the "rr" like you normally do in english it will be ok too :-)

(i'm not very good in english, sorry)

May 21, 2016


you did pretty good don't worry

May 21, 2016


It's like a purring sound. Move the tip of your tongue the top of your mouth. The link below might help.


May 21, 2016


It's like a purring sound. !!!!!!!

corvusalbus that's the best definition I've ever read about our "RR"!!!!!!

Thanks for the tip!!!!

May 21, 2016


Everyone will understand your Spanish if you lack the trilled Rs.

Far, far, far more important is getting the pure vowels right, and eliminating the English tendency to make diphthongs and schwas out of them all. And that's generally a lot harder for most English speakers to do, because we have a lifetime of habits in the way we pronounce our vowels that must be unlearned. In English are so used to the idea that an unstressed vowel doesn't matter, we don't listen for the unstressed vowels, and we don't even notice when we're not pronouncing them right.

It's interesting that the American "R" sound is one of the hardest to pronounce, both for natives and non-natives. Every kindergarten class has a few kids who haven't gotten it right yet. And there are many from various languages who substitute a trilled "R", because they find it easier and more natural. They are easy to understand, even though their speech doesn't sound native.

May 21, 2016


Richard is right about the American R being the hardest to pronounce. That is why American military operations traditionally have the letter R somewhere in the name.

May 21, 2016


First of all, it is an extremely common issue among non-native speakers, and even among many natives. No need to worry.

That said, if you really try (as some said, it's all about the tongue, not the throat) you'll finally achieve it, and become closer to sound like a real native. But don't try too hard, it's something that shouldn't bother you until you reach a high level in all the other subjects (grammar, listening, reading...)

May 21, 2016


Believe me I tried. But yeah, perhaps I'm overreacting. I'll continue to practice the vocabulary and speech and worry about the double r later. I shouldn't shun a whole language because of one flaw. English has flaws too.

May 21, 2016


This post lead me to like a hour of watching tutorials that I'll never get back lol.

May 21, 2016


Have you tried to sing? You record yourself trying to pronounce both sounds of the "Spanish R".

For instance, this song repeat often both sounds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVC6dbTMK3A

  • "llorar y llorar" , "dinero"


  • "rodar y rodar", "piedra", "rey", "arriero"

It's not a linguistic substitute, but it's fun... and maybe useful.

May 21, 2016


I just don't care about it, and native speakers shouldn't mind too much

May 21, 2016


You need to use your tongue, not your throat :)

May 21, 2016


If you're getting a sore throat, you're trying it wrong. There are lots of videos on youtube that try to explain that, see a few of those if you haven't yet.

That sound is used not only in Spanish but also in my language. Nowadays people (native speakers) who cannot say the r can even work in radio and television where I live.

If you can already say the simple "r" (I mean the one that is just a single tap of the tongue on the palate), doing the trill shouldn't be too difficult.

When I make that sound alone and on purpose, it doesn't come out if I don't put enough power in my voice, so don't talk under your breath when practicing. No need to yell tho, just speak loudly.

Try saying ramarro rosso.

May 21, 2016


If you pronounce it as an English r, you won't really run into too many problems. There are some instances where the Spanish rr distinguishes between two similar words, like

perro // pero

querría // quería

But a native speaker should easily understand what you're trying to say from context.

That being said, keep trying! There are some videos on Youtube that give tutorials on how to produce foreign sounds, and they might be helpful for you.


May 21, 2016


Oh god, neither can I. Well, no, I tell a lie: I can SORT OF do it SOMETIMES.

What I've found is that it helps if you take a word with just a single "r" in it, if you can say it with decent pronunciation, like, "encontrado."

Then keep saying that and focus on the "r" sound you're making - where your tongue is, where your teeth are - and just try to re-create that sound over and over again.

Then try to say "perro" or something.

It sometimes works for me; I haven't mastered it at all yet.

Good luck!

May 21, 2016


With that one word I can say it so it sounds kind of like the trill since the t comes before an r, but still not like it's supposed to come out as. With words like perro it just isn't happening haha.

May 21, 2016


Es una característica propia del idioma español la pronunciación de la doble "rr" te sugiero que aprendas la técnica, porque no se te entenderá mucho si lo pronuncias al estilo English, asi como nosotros los que aprendemos ingles se nos dificulta aprender a diferenciar los sonidos del ingles que algunos son tan difíciles de percibir, asi ustedes los angloparlantes deben aprenderlo.

May 22, 2016


Kanon087 no, no "deben aprenderlo", no es imprescindible para hablar español pronunciarlo exactamente. En toda mi vida solo he conocido a dos personas que hablen español como españoles siendo otra su lengua nativa.

However, davethewarrior I believe you already have the sound : listen to the different pronunciations that wordreference offers of the word "RIOT". I believe you'll agree after pronouncing one or two of the samples , but insisting in the initial "R". THen tre Spanish one "RAMA" will become easier.

RIOT : http://www.wordreference.com/es/translation.asp?tranword=riot
RAMA: http://www.wordreference.com/es/en/translation.asp?spen=rama

The result is not a vibrant Spanish "RR", but it's much closer than your usual result, which, most of the times, sounds very much like a soft "R" when my American friends speak Spanish.


I agree with formagella: If you're getting a sore throat, you're trying it wrong.

The "R" coming from your throath is a "French R" (much more like you would pronounce "GHR" at "hotel-ghotel-ghrotel) and not a "Spanish RR" (as you would pronounce "RRRRRRR" at "riot- rrriot-rrrrrriot").

Please, try and tell me your results... Txs in advance.

May 22, 2016


I'm still working on it and have gotten better in the last few weeks. I'm not consistent and that's what I'm working on. I watch a lot of Spanish TV so, every time I hear the double rr sound, I repeat it. I do this for at least six hours a day. It has become such a habit that I fear doing it in actual conversation with someone.

May 22, 2016


I have lived in Spanish speaking countries for a number of years. 12 in Panamá and 11 in Costa Rica. I have tried and tried but never been able to roll my r's, I have one daughter who can, perfectly, and a son who can't like me. I have also had a number of Latin friends who can not roll the r's so I'm not totally convinced the problem is correctable with practice for some people. Perhaps it is my English ancestry? I finally had to turn off the microphone in SETTINGS because either the sound quality was bad, or Duolingo simply could not understand my voice. I would spend 50 repititions on a word I knew was pronounced correctly.. and I also became very discouraged. I decided to leave it off for awhile until I felt more familiar with Duolingo then turn it back on. Pronunciation is important, but people will understand your speech without the double r and you will understand what you hear if you continue even without it. I finished the golden tree yesterday, and now I'll go back with the microphone on to work on my pronunciations.

May 22, 2016
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