Spanish pronunciation lesson: How to roll the Spanish R
Podcast episode 1 – SEE ALL EPISODES
Today’s question comes from Laurence, one of my Twitter followers. A few days ago, he sent me a message asking “How can I get to roll the double R the way native speakers do?” And the says: “Are there any exercises you can give me, so I can say words like “perro” without sounding so American?”
As you know, Spanish pronunciation is one of my favourite topics. I truly believe that if you have a good Spanish pronunciation, your communication skills will improve dramatically.
See also: Maria’s step-by-step Spanish course.
You’ll be able to communicate much more easily. And you’ll be able to understand others really well.
Also, having a good Spanish pronunciation is extremely motivating. It gives you great encouragement to continue learning the language, because you can communicate so well.
Spanish pronunciation lesson: How to roll your R in Spanish. Overview
The easiest way to master the Spanish sounds, specially difficult sounds like the double R, is to isolate them and practise them on their own.
The first thing that we need to be aware of today is that the single R and the double R in Spanish are two very different sounds.
In this episode, we’re going to focus only on the double R.
How do you actually produce the RR sound?
The trick is to know how to place the tip of your tongue.
You need to place place the tip of your tongue as if you were going to say the letter T in English. Think of the word: ten.
With the tip of your tongue there, now make it vibrate, as if you were a cat purring.
Make sure the tip of your tongue stays up there.
Let’s try again. Remember to place the tip of your tongue correctly and to keep it there.
Notice that, if you move your tongue away from your palate, you won’t be able to make the right sound. To vibrate, your tongue needs to be touching your palate.
Spanish pronunciation lesson: How to roll your R in Spanish. Let’s practise
Now we’re going to practise the five sounds: rra, rre, rri, rro, rru.
Repeat them after me. Remember the English word ‘ten’ for the right position of your tongue.
Let’s do this exercise once again. Repeat after me:
I know this is not easy. It’s in fact one of the most difficult Spanish sounds.
But if you practise, and you persist, and you do these exercises regularly, I promise you that you will get there.
And your pronunciation of the RR sound will be pretty similar to mine.
Spanish pronunciation lesson: How to roll your R in Spanish. Let’s say some words
Let’s now practise these sound with some useful words. Remember to position the tip of your tongue as if you were saying the English word: ten.
Repeat after me:
Let’s say these four words again.
How to roll your R in Spanish. One more time
Let’s practise once again the double R plus vowel sounds.
Remember to place the tip of your tongue as if you were going to say the letter T in English. Think of the word: ten.
How to roll your R in Spanish. Conclusion
Working on your Spanish pronunciation is not easy, but it’s very much worth it.
I know it because, when I was learning English, I was mostly taught by Spanish teachers. So, after a while, I had a really terrible English accent.
One day, a few years after I started learning, I decided to do something about it. So I got myself an English pronunciation book.
It was a book that I really loved. It went through each and every one of the English sounds in detail. And then it compared the sounds with each other. And then it gave you paragraphs to practise all the sounds.
The course took me about a couple of months to go through. But it really paid off. I was hard work, but I do not regret having done it.
How to get a great accent with my (very affordable) Spanish course
That English pronunciation course has inspired the pronunciation lessons that I’ve included in my Spanish online course.
The course includes videos for all the Spanish sounds.
To find out more about my Spanish course, go here.
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