How do you roll your R's and when do you use it in Italian??

I have this problem for so long already, I have tried different methods but it just doesn't work. I end up sounding like a bee making that buzzing sound. I really need to learn this because I know it is essential when learning languages like Italian and Spanish.

June 25, 2018


YouTube offers a wealth of videos on this topic:

June 25, 2018

Good questions! I'm native Portuguese and the sound is a little similar... but sometimes I think it's not human, how can Italians use R's this way !! hahaha thank you CivisRomanus, I'll search on YouTube

June 25, 2018

Thank you for the links. I'll watch them all. I've tried to learn how to do that for an extremely long time, with lots of "tutoring" but so far, I still can't do it. Maybe the videos help!

June 26, 2018

I’ve been trying for 2 years, I don’t think my mouth is made for it , it’s very frustrating

June 26, 2018

It's very unlikely that you physically can't make the sound! It's more likely that you're not approaching it in the right way.

First off, try making the 'Brrrrr' sound with your lips that we associate with being cold. Notice how you're not actively moving your lips up down. They're doing that on their own as you force the air through. The rolled R is the same.

If you can do the tapped R, which you find in Spanish 'cara' and as the T in a General American pronunciation of 'water', then you know where your tongue needs to be. The next step is to force the air through. Your tongue should not quite touch the alveolar ridge, and it needs to not be too tense, or you won't get the air through. This takes practice and you'll get a feel for it with time.

You might find it helps to learn your head back, as this will allow gravity to help you a little with getting your tongue into position. When I first started rolling my Rs, I did it with my head leant back, and gradually got used to the feeling so I could do it like a normal person.

Last but not least, I spoke Italian for 8 years before I had the breakthrough that allowed me to roll my Rs. During this time, I got the highest marks in my GCSEs, A levels and degree in Italian, including a distinction in spoken Italian, so not being able to roll your Rs is not the end of the world. There are native Italians who can't do it. They call it the 'erre moscia', the soft R, and people can understand them perfectly well!

June 27, 2018

Here is my method, as it seems to have worked when I lived in Bussolengo:

1) Place your tongue on your alveolar ridge (such that you are making a 't' sound). 2) Make the noise of a machine gun. 3) Draw your tongue back and form your 'r' sound.

In the words of the Italians, "tra dire e fare c'è il mezzo del mare." Good practice words: grazia, spruzzo

It takes practice for an English speaker, and a lot of it, much like learning to pronounce 'l'aria climatizzazzione.' In l'estate, crescenda l'aria climatizzazzione quando sei vecina Verona!

June 27, 2018
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