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The Trilled R (Welsh)


I'm an American learning Welsh--I hope to spend some time in Wales starting next year. Thus far, I've been unable to roll or trill my Rs in any way.

Of course I've listened to the pronunciation videos; I review them daily. The concept is simple enough. I've watched every video YouTube has to offer on the subject. Even when I studied Spanish in school, I never, not once, successfully rolled an R. Until recently, I believed I was physically unable to trill due to a recessive gene--which turns out to be a myth. That's good news but the problem remains.

Does anyone here have any suggestions above, beyond, and/or different from the advice found in the videos?


October 8, 2018



I watched a video once, a girl was talking about how she learnt. She used the italian word 'vorrei' and would say it like "vor-r-rei' and enunciate every R. Eventually you slur them and it turns into a rolled R. Because your brain doesn't like taking so much time to say a single word, or something like that. I tried it, and it sort of works for me, but I can only roll the R on the words I practice. So unless I want to practice rolling the R on every word in a language that has a rolled R in it, I've given up that method.

But it might work for you so give it a go :D


As Imi_imp suggested, in YouTube you can find many tutorials about the trilled R in Italian, which is the same as in Welsh (see link below).
Very basically, the trill is produced by the vibration of the tip of the tongue just behind the upper teeth, caused by the air flow. Positioning the tongue correctly is the most important part.
Exercise with individual syllables first (ra, re, ri...), then try the reverse syllables (ar, er, ir,...), then try actual words.



Thank you very much! I have watched every video I could find on youtube. Before I can practice refining the sound, I need to be able to make it. I've tried until I've choked. I can't figure out how to physically vibrate my tongue. All I manage to do while trying to trill my Rs is produce a sound like the Welsh double l (ll).


Some people cannot trill an r. Don't worry about it. Just try and pronounce it even if you cannot actually trill it.

It is more important to learn how to string sentences together!

(You may find it easier to trill following t and d to begin with - trio, tri, tra, traeth, dringo, drain, drych, edrych)


Interestingly, I've found the easiest letter combination for rolling the r, is br. And having been able to it for many years I can honestly say that tr and dr, are for me, the hardest! Best of luck!


Agree that tr and dr and the hardest, but whether your native language has APICAL (tip of tongue) or LAMINAL (blade of tongue) t and d will make a difference. (English has apical; French has laminal. Welsh? I haven't figured this out yet!)


If you get the LL sound instead of the trill, you are probably keeping the tongue too high. Its tip should not be folded backwards, nor touch the hard palate. Try lowering slightly the whole tongue; this will make the air flow pass also above the tongue, not only sideways (otherwise you only get the LL sound).
As Ibisc wrote, tr... and dr... help you to trill better than r... alone.


I suggest pushing out a lot of air to get the trill going. But help please : I always hear a T in words with RH, such as ANRHEG. I hear antreg. Nuts?


I have come on to the forum particularly to comment( and complain ) about this. With the computer voice I heard T, as in trwyn, rather rhywun. I've had the same with Rhaid.

This does not happen in real life.


My theory now is that in RH for the Duolingo voice the R is trilled (or tapped) against the roof of the mouth rather than against the dental ridge (palatal rather than alveolar), and that mimics (for my ears) a T, somehow. Thanks for your comment.

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