1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Czech
  4. >
  5. Tongue position when saying Ř


Tongue position when saying Ř

Yeah, I know, this is a really basic question and has probably been answered many times before, but...

...what position should my tongue be in when pronouncing Ř (r with hacek)?

Obviously you can't see into people's mouths when they're speaking!

I have the urge to turn my tongue back on itself, as opposed to the Ž where the front of my tongue is flat against the top of my mouth. So the under-tip (? the bottom side of the tip of my tongue) is the part that is touching the top of my mouth.

Is this right?

September 13, 2018



You have to bend your tongue and touch the begginning of the upper front teeth where they tuch yout gum. Remember keeping your jaw relatively closed during the process.


I wouldn't describe it this way. I certainly don't touch my teeth and the main place of articulation is the alveolar ridge.


Really? When I say ř for a long time, that's what I notice... My tongue bends slightly up...


It does bend, it has to anatomically, but the main point is where it touches the mouth. Ř is alveolar, not dental. Because it is laminal, the tip is slightly forward of the alveolar ridge, but in my mouth not all the way to the teeth. But that may be a personal variation, you may touch the teeth and I may not.

The main point for articulation is the place the farthest into the mouth where the tongue touches the mouth. The tip is not so important if any other part is touching somewhere farther.

It is something like this:



You look like a linguist. Is that the case? You do know much about sounds...


No, I am not, but I have looked at these before and then looked up the details specifically for this question.


Thanks for that great diagram! So that person isn't flipping his tongue over as I (for some reason) was. But that also looks like my tongue position for Ž, which I think I already say correctly (because English has it).


No, Ž is more backwards and the tongue makes a central tunnel below the mouth top along which the air flows.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4YymFfmWFQ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7L45OCycYs


Actually, the bend is important to the naming as well. They call it raised alveolar (fricative) trill, because the body of the tongue is raised. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dental,_alveolar_and_postalveolar_trills#Voiced_alveolar_fricative_trill

  • 468

I spent years learning "ř". This is what finally helped me:

1) Pronounce RRRRRRRR like in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsfgBrTFlvY The tip of your tongue has to vibrate right behind your upper teeth.

2) Put your upper and lower teeth together

3) Repeat that vibrating sound with your upper and lower teeth together. Voilà, the resulting sound is ŘŘŘŘŘŘŘŘ.


Similar to R, the tip of your tongue should touch the ridge behind your (upper) teeth.

(At least that's what I seem to do; linguists might be able to describe it better.)


Yes, both are alveolar, so they are articulated at the alveolar ridge.

With R, it is most often apical so articulated by the tip of the tongue on the hard part of the mouth so that the back of the tongue touches the alveolar ridge.

Ř is laminal, so that the articulation is done by the blade of the tongue at the alveolar ridge. The blade is just behind the tip.

At least that's what they write on Wikipedia, but when I try to observe my own articulation it seems to be correct.

Ž, which Mark refers to, is postalveolar (a bit farther) and one makes a groove in which the air flows forward, which is quite different from the trill or tap of R and Ř where the tip or blade vibrates.


I found the word I was looking for: Retroflex (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retroflex_consonant). So Ř isn't retroflex, then? I had been saying it like that and now have to learn the real way to say it.


No, it is not. It is basically like this https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5788d997f7e0aba701f908df/t/595a2bb6f7e0ab5022d3c24f/1499081663238/ with the midlle part of the tongue raised in comparison to R. So it is actually bent the other way.


OK; I'm going to start saying it that way now. Děkuji!

Learn Czech in just 5 minutes a day. For free.