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https://www.duolingo.com/Wolfdusk

The Esperanto 'r'

Wolfdusk
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In Esperanto, it seems every 'r' is trilled/rolled. I personally have trouble rolling my r's, does anybody else have this issue? I feel stupid trying to roll my r's, as I can only get a half-trilled 'r.' Other than that, pronunciation is not a difficult task.

1 year ago

27 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/cliff900
cliff900
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Not everyone rolls the R. I've listened to podcasts and watched videos of experienced speakers not rolling the R. Then I've heard others where it sounds like half the time they are rolling the R and half the time they are not.

I, personally, prefer the sound of the rolled R in Esperanto, although, it doesn't bother me to hear when it's not rolled.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Wolfdusk
Wolfdusk
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Thanks!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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See Rev_ero's comment elsewhere in this thread. Just because it's heard doesn't mean that it's the preferred way. I hear people speaking all sorts of languages with bad accents all the time.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fenjicka
fenjicka
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I have trouble with the trill as well.. Even when I can produce it, it takes so much effort and sounds forced and weird in words.. I usually reduce it to a tapped r instead, Japanese style xD

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Wolfdusk
Wolfdusk
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Exactly

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rev_ero

Well, I think both sounds are acceptable because they cause no problem. What is not acceptable, it's the german/french/dutch r sound.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EthanGrey314
EthanGrey314
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I've heard the German/French r sound in Esperanto a lot, including from a person who claims to be a native Esperanto speaker.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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I can't correct you on whether you're wrong about what you heard... because I wasn't there. I don't know what you heard. There are different levels of "acceptable." Nobody is going to throw you out of a meeting for using the wrong R sound. You may occasionally find someone who will defend a German R in Esperanto (but not the super throaty French one) -- but Generally speaking, the lightly trilled R is considered standard. Using it will help you be understood and will allow people to focus on what you're saying and not on your accent.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rev_ero

Not everybody has worked enough time in the pronuntiation, and some people never work on that. So, I'm sure you have heard that sound, the same I have, not only in Esperanto, also in English, and Spanish. But it's still not the proper r sound in those languages.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vanege
Vanege
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That's not true.

> The most important grammatical references, PMEG and PAG (Plena Analiza Gramatiko), both recommend R to be pronounced as an alveolar trill [r] (i.e. trilled with the tip of the tongue). PMEG says that a uvular trill [R] (like the French R) is also acceptable.

> Apperently Zamenhof himself was not very strict about this. In the five version of the grammar rules of the Fundamento de Esperanto written in French, English, German, Russian and Polish, he always just explained the pronunciation of R by equating it with the pronunciation of the R in the language, in which he was explaining it. This could justify quite a variety of different ways to pronounce the R.

> But already very early the opinion, that the alveolar trill is the best pronunciation, started becoming popular, and this opinion has become part of the Esperanto pronunciation standard. Here is what the Esperanto Wikipedia writes about this:

> La Fundamento de Esperanto samtempe egaligis la Esperantan /r/ kun la sufiĉe diversaj /r/-oj de la lingvoj angla, franca, germana, pola kaj rusa, kaj sekve lasis pli da libereco por la prononco de /r/; sed jam baldaŭ aperis la opinio ke nur la vibra langopinta [r] (kiel en la rusa kaj pola, kaj aldone ankaŭ en la itala) estas bona prononco, kaj tiu opinio iĝis parto de la nun firmiĝinta prononca normo. > So if one can pronounce the alveolar trill, one should certainly use it in Esperanto. If one can't pronounce it, but one can pronounce the uvular trill, one can use that as an acceptable alternative. If one can't pronounce either trill, one should make an effort to learn at least one of them (preferably the alveolar one) instead of just contenting oneself with whatever R one can easily pronounce.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rev_ero

Well, what can you expect from a german speaker? The uvular sound only is good for them, for the rest it creates confusion.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TseDanylo
TseDanylo
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While I don't know how to help you exactly. It's about half way between a "l" and a "d"

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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... depending on how you pronounce L and D.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TseDanylo
TseDanylo
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There are different ways to pronounce l and d?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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My main point is that it's essentially pointless to try to explain pronunciation in terms of other written words or letters if you don't know how the person pronounces those words or letters. For the specific examples of L and D, I was half kidding - but the answer to your question is - absolutely yes. Google (different ways to pronounce L) or (different ways to pronounce letter D) and you'll get some more information. Once source describes a "light L" and a "dark L" - both represented by the same IPA symbol. This leaves aside the question of whether we count words like "worked" which are pronounced similar to a word spelled "wurkt".

I've seen discussions on whether there is a difference between a D and a voiced T. Ultimately it has to do with how much air is blown out when you pronounce it. I've also been told that after the American R and the mispronunciation of the 5 vowels, the easiest giveaway for an American accent in Esperanto is how we (I'm American) pronounce a certain consonant... I'm pretty sure that consonant is L... but I'm trying to confirm my recollection on this.

More importantly, however, I'm not convinced that saying that an R is between a D and an L really helps.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lukas_McNougat

Just try to imitate an idling engine.

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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Keep trying. Don't stress out over it. And you're supposed to feel stupid at first.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jdroege

Since the goal of Esperanto is communication, don't stress on the "correct" letter r. Roll it in the front, roll it in the back or don't roll it at all if you can't. The important thing is: Can people understand you?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vanege
Vanege
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There is a common misconception that the trilled is the only correct one. You can probably do it as you do it in your native tongue (Zamenhof considered many r in the Fundamento), but many Esperantists (not all) consider the trill as a model.

http://esperanto.stackexchange.com/questions/132/is-the-letter-r-supposed-to-be-trilled

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Wolfdusk
Wolfdusk
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Thanks!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LeeMiller9

Citation, please, about "Zamenhof considered many r in the Fundamento".

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vanege
Vanege
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https://www.duolingo.com/PEM122333
PEM122333
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What still remains unknown to me is whether it is acceptable to pronounce it as an English r (as a voiced postalveolar/retroflex approximant, /ɻ/, /ɹ/). Would somebody sound uneducated if they pronounced it in this manner?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lukas_McNougat

Esperanto may seem like it needs the Rs to be rolled, due to its large derivation from Latin, but it doesn't matter. Esperanto is about connecting people, so pronunciation shouldn't be made an issue.

11 months ago