I can't roll my r's, Can i still speak Spanish to other Spanish people?

3
votes

some people don't know what i mean when i say "roll my r's". i mean i can't make that sound with my tongue for the letter r in Spanish.

32648 views
updated ENE 23, 2010
posted by Shopping

7 Answers

5
votes

I assume they could understand you...at least mostly. You would just have an accent. I understand people who speak English with accents.

But here are some tips on rolling the r:

(1) You are not trying to move your tongue up and down really fast. You could never move your tongue fast enough.

(2) Instead, You try to hold the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth just behind your teeth while vigorously blowing air out of your mouth over your tongue.

(3) It is the tongue resisting the airflow that causes the tip of the tongue to vibrate rapidly against the roof of the mouth.

CAUTION: If you press the tongue's tip too tightly to the roof of the mouth, the air will just go around the tongue. If you don't quite touch the roof of the mouth, the air just goes over the tongue. You want the tip of the tongue to just barely touch the roof of the mouth and to just barely resist the force of the air going out.

TIP: Holding your lips in a loose "o" formation will probably be easiest, so start with that formation. You can experiment with different mouth shapes, though.

TIP: The Spanish RR is a voiced sound, but it is easier if you begin by concentrating your effort only on making the flapping motion. Once you are able to achieve that, then add your voice (just try to say "uhhhh" while making the flapping motion at the same time).

TIP: As you practice, you will be holding the sound longer than you would in an actual word. The RR sound, when held for a long duration, is actually a motor-like sound, which you may have made naturally as a child if you ever tried to imitate motor noises (I certainly did).

updated JUN 6, 2011
edited by webdunce
posted by webdunce
3
votes

Quality of the roll:

Now, the quality of the rolling sound is affected by the position of the tongue, and perfecting this requires practice. You can make really harsh, loud rolling sounds or more delicate rolling sounds. It is far easier to make the harsh, loud ones. So start with that. But as you practice you can try to make it more delicate. You can experiment with exactly where the tip of the tongue is touching. For instance, I can make the sound with my tongue actually touching my teeth or touching more towards the center of my mouth. Generally, you want to be touching the roof of the mouth just behind the teeth. You can also experiment with the force of air going out and the amount of upward force your tongue is exerting. There are even more subtleties I could never describe...you just experiment and experiment and it sounds better and better.

If I am alone, I may go "rrrrrrrrrrrrrr" for minutes at a time experimenting with the sound. This is what you did with all sounds when you were very young. It's just that a child receives vigorous praise for sound attempts while adults receive ridicule (so you gotta be alone in the house or have understanding housemates).

updated ENE 11, 2011
posted by webdunce
2
votes

many rural puertoricans dont roll r´s

updated ENE 11, 2011
posted by skatebordstephen
2
votes

do not worry about that, there are so many people, even spanish speakers who can't make the sound of the "r"

In fact, people from puerto rico, cuba and republica dominicana can not make that sound they sound an "L" instead the """R""

updated ENE 11, 2011
posted by emprendedor
2
votes

Of Course! But you do want to try. It's best to roll......

updated ENE 23, 2010
posted by a168a
1
vote

Renae makes some great comments on the single r.

As for the rr sound, if only you were a boy, I could just tell you it's the sound we all made when playing "machine guns" when we were kids. It's also a sound that could be used for tractors, trucks, or heavy equipment.

Hopefully you had some brothers or there were other situations where you played games and you made that sound. Practice it, because that's the trilling of the rr in Spanish.

Once you are used to making that sound, it's not that difficult to insert it in a word like perrrrrrrrrrrrrrrro. smile

updated ENE 23, 2010
posted by Goyo
0
votes

I thought I would share what worked for me. I went through such pain figuring out the pronounciation of that elusive "r" until I found an explanation that made sense to me on the internet.I think its easier than we make it! The biggest mistake we Americans tend to make when pronouncing the rolled "r" sound is to still make that strong american r sound while rolling it! If you listen to native spanish speakers they do not make that "R" sound in the back of the throat like we do! If you just concentrate an touching the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth much how we form the "D" sound, just a little further back, you almost have it. Now say medal fast a few times! The movement your tongue makes between the d and the l is almost identical to the short "r" sound in Spanish. All you have to do to make the "rr" sound is acentuate and draw out the same sound you just practiced. I havn't heard this explanation much but when I was in the same boat as you this explanation above all the others was the key to my success!

updated ENE 23, 2010
posted by renaerules