How do you learn to roll your tongue like to say perra?

2
votes

How to learn to roll my R's. Example perra. Please help me.

28020 views
updated MAY 27, 2013
posted by bjmaas
FYI: Never call someone this because it has a negative secondary meaning.

17 Answers

9
votes

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 just add your voice to it.

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 DIC 20, 2011
edited by webdunce
posted by webdunce
Tried as a child but failed, web, I can't wink either! But I can flare my nostrils impressively. :P
4
votes

Try placing your tongue in a "T-sound" position. Say "T" (the "T-sound" as in "tick", not "train" no "ch" aspiration) and at the same time try pushing the air between the tip of your tongue and your alveoral ridge, and you should feel your tongue vibrating (or flapping and hitting the alveoral ridge with a great spead). Remember: spanish "rrr" has nothing to do with moving your tongue intentionally, but rather letting it loose a bit and pushing the air inside out.

updated MAY 27, 2013
posted by Issabela
Well, sure, if you want to say the same thing I did using just 1/5 as many words :P
But I voted for you anyway :P Besides, I've got the same vibrating rrrr in my language, so it was easy for me to describe it.
4
votes

I've tried everything, and I mean everything, and to this day I can't really 'trill' my r's. I've given it up to 'genetically impossible'. At least that's what my wife says

Well, it IS better to move on to other parts of the language rather than to get bogged down with how to roll your Rs. Myself, I have given up..at least for now...on getting the B/V sound just right...or the G sound that is in agua. I just use the English B, V, and G sounds respectively.

However, it is not a genetic thing, so far as I know. I think many people experience problems because they are trying to make their tongue do some weird thing. But the tongue need not do anything except try to touch the roof of your mouth . While the tongue is trying to do this, you blow out.

So, to reiterate, if you are able to touch the tip of your tongue gently against the roof of your mouth and if you are able to blow out air, then you can roll your Rs.

The force of the air blowing out tries to push the tongue tip down. But your tongue is steadily trying to touch the roof of your mouth (thus resisting the force of the air blowing out).

This tug-of-war between the tongue and the air causes the tongue tip to vibrate against the roof of the mouth.

Now, there is a delicateness to it. If you use too much force to hold the tongue tip against the roof of the mouth, the air will just go around the sides of the tongue. But, if you use too little force, then the air will succeed in pushing the tongue tip down and you'll just get a hissing sound. You have to just counter the force of the air.

And, of course, let us not forget the simpler idea that you may have made this exact same sound as a child if you ever tried to imitate a car motor or a machine gun. If you hold the RR sound out, it is a motor-like noise. I made it all the time as a boy but I was imitating cars and guns...I was not trying to roll a Spanish RR.

All that to say, I hope one day you can revisit trying to make the sound and successfully make it. If trying to roll the RR discourages you, then it is best to leave it alone for now and come back to it later. You certainly don't want to let this one obstacle prevent you from enjoying the rest of the language!

If you ever do make it, you will probably make it a bit too strong, and over time you make it more gentle-sounding. When I watch movies in Spanish, I'm barely able to notice when they roll an R, but if you listen to me, it's like blah, blah, blah...excuse me, I'm gonna roll an R now....blah blah blah.

But even if you never get the hang of it, you can of course still speak Spanish...you'll just have an accent. And it has absolutely no impact on reading, writing, or listening to Spanish.

Now THAT is a long-winded post. You deserve some kind of medal if you read it all.

Cheers, --webdunce

updated SEP 30, 2011
edited by webdunce
posted by webdunce
jej, the first one for me, gettng my vote, web, nice post
LOL. it's like some kind of essay! {pins medal on Heidita's lapel}
I think I've finally gotten the B/V thing down. :-)
3
votes

I went from depressed about rolling R, to doing it in 1 day....

I am on a kick to learn Spanish. However I could not roll my Rs and it was really hurting my motivation to continue learning, especially thinking i could learn the language and never be able to really speak it. I tried all of the ladder-butter techniques and all this does in my opinion is to help you fake it better. I could do a sound that would go in a rolled r place and seemed to sound OK ...sounded like "thedrr" but was NOT a rolled R.

I searched hi and low and spent countless hours on Google looking for an answer. All the techniques did not work as I am very impatient and saw people on these blogs who have tried for years. I am way to impatient to practice something for weeks, much less years, without getting it. I started Google searching things like "it is impossible to learn to roll your Rs" to find people to say it was impossible so i could move on to something else.

Finally came across a YouTube video that I believed helped the most. Yesterday I started practicing making whatever noise i could by blowing air out and trying to vibrate my tongue any way i could hoping i could build some muscles that would eventually contribute to my rolling the R.

I tried all day and was blowing so hard i was getting dizzy. I just kept doing it and combined with the method on this video, vibrated the tongue a couple times...even though it didnt sound like an R. I kept doing this all day and my tongue was dead from all the misery i put it through. I kept trying through the night even though i could bearly move it. I was getting it to vibrate, better and better, even though many times even after i first got it, it was only air violently coming out. Once i finally got it to vibrate, i still could not make the right vocal sound, but if you can just get to the vibrating tongue part, you can tweak the voice part later easily.

Next day i woke up and tongue had time to rest. I was rolling the R within about 5 min of trying again. now i can do it on demand, although still have a ways to go to make perfect, especially using it in the middle of a word!

So IT IS POSSIBLE. I drove my wife crazy for a day and got dizzy about 50 times, but it worked. Here is the video i watched. My advise is to try hard..physically ...my learning process was kind of violent. The entire process is all about air coming out and the end of tongue touching the roof of mouth just hard enough to make it vibrate. GOOD LUCK!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2tgN2k0P2U

updated MAY 27, 2013
posted by mpz714x4
I was more or less the same mpz, I won't say I'm great at it now, but it's definitely there to stay. :)
This video is of course gone, but if your still around and got it still , can I have it. I can vibrate the thing but I cant make it into the rr sound yet
3
votes

How to learn to roll my R's. Example perra. Please help me.

If you were a male, I'd say "toy trucks and machine guns". You'd be doing it by bedtime.

But since you're a lady....... I'm drawing a blank. blank stare

updated SEP 30, 2011
posted by Goyo
LOL...that´s it...what boy doesn´t make this sound while playing with toy cars or holding a stick and pretending it´s a machine gun?
We used that sound when driving our Barbie convertbiles.up to our Barbie Dream Houses. jeje
3
votes

I know I'm getting side-tracked here but has anyone had a "go" at a digeridoo? (The Koori/Australian Aboriginal sound instrument). You do this circular breathing kind-of-thing - really hard - some people have the "knack" producing wonderful sounds at their first attempts. Others....like me....take forever to the hang of it. That's how I was with trilling Rs -.took me ages..and...I still suffer from "performance anxiety" but...I'm getting better...

Lots of luck bj Annie.

updated ENE 11, 2011
posted by nonombre
Never tried it, but I love the sounds it makes.
Sounds like a fun wat to learn trilling the Rs! :-)
I can get a fair sound out of a digeridoo, and almost got the circular breathing too - now I'm focussed on uke and melodeon and don't pick up the digeridoo though.
1
vote

Hey, as you can see this is something that gives many of us doubts/difficulties.

I've posted before on different threads, but to you now I will say,

Don't Give Up!!

I honestly thought I couldn't do it, having convinced myself while learning Arabic that I couldn't 'trill'; I could manage a single 'r' in the correct way but when I saw the double I would feel very fed-up. I also have a mild degree of tongue-tie, so there was my ready-made excuse!!

I recommend that you make sure you can do the single 'r' sound first, by listening and copying, and then......

Go somewhere where you won't be embarrassed by being overheard - I chose my car - and try as hard as you can! I found I needed (and still mostly need) to expel a lot more air to get that trill to begin, and mine doesn't last long compared to some awesome ones I've heard.

However, it is definitely there, even if I sometimes have to have more than one attempt at a word to get it right.

smile

updated SEP 30, 2011
posted by galsally
1
vote

In general when speaking spanish your tongue placement should be different. Watch a native speaker and their tongue is usually directly behind their teeth while in english speakers it is more towards the roof of their mouth. Some of my friends said they were taught good diction by holding a pencil in their mouths while speaking.

updated SEP 30, 2011
posted by gabacholoco
1
vote

I think that the easy way to learn this sound is to relax and do this:

  1. Find a word like "perro" or "arroz" and look it up in the dictionary on this site.
  2. Click on the speaker icon and listen to the way it is said.
  3. Try to copy the sound of the word.
  4. Remember that the "rr" sound in Spanish is a completely different sound than the "r" in English. Forget the English "r." You need to use the front of your palate and your tongue.
  5. The "rr" sound is actually two syllables that include the soft Spanish "r." Say it slowl, listening to the pronunciation each time. ar-roz. Do it a thousand times. Speed up the sound. You will have it.
updated SEP 30, 2011
posted by JoyceM
1
vote

I've tried everything, and I mean everything, and to this day I can't really 'trill' my r's. I've given it up to 'genetically impossible'. At least that's what my wife says LOL

updated SEP 30, 2011
posted by Jack-OBrien
1
vote

You know how guys are attracted to females?? You know when they are looking at them they RRRRRRR (the cat sound)? Try that and see if that works.

updated SEP 30, 2011
posted by Rey_Mysterio
1
vote

I learned to roll my r's at the age of 28. They say if you don't learn as a child it's very difficult. I used something called the butter ladder method which is essentially just saying either butter or ladder (whichever you prefer) over and over again as fast as you can for 15 minutes a day or so. Anyway, I think my touge got used to the necessary movements that way and after about 4 or 6 weeks I was able to do it. I have to admit, it was a long 4 weeks trying and I really didn't feel like I was making progress but one day it just clicked.

updated SEP 30, 2011
posted by mariana538
Or rolled, rather :)
1
vote

Okay, I thought I would never be able to roll my rr's, but I can now!! I would not let my myself stop saying the word 'tres' (yes, I know it isn't actually a rr smile ) It is still took about six months of constant practicing....and I mean six months of saying that word over a thousand times a day. I sometimes still hesitate on some words, but for the most part I show off now, cheese

updated SEP 30, 2011
posted by sunshinzmommie
1
vote

I found this site about 'tongue rolling'. It's amazing what stuff you can find on the internet.

http://www.discovery.com/area/skinnyon/skinnyon970226/skinny1.html

updated SEP 30, 2011
posted by Jack-OBrien
Just FYI, this article is about rolling your tongue into a tube...not about rolling Rs, which is very different.
Actually, it's not different. If you don't have the ability to roll your tongue into a tube, chances are you can't roll your Rs. That's the hereditary thing :~)
Jack, for years I couldn't make the rolled rr sound until one day when, as a Christian I was filled with the Holy Spirit and was able to do it have been able to do it ever since :)
What is referred to in Christian circles as the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
I can't do that either Jack.
1
vote

All these posters have given great advice grin I have heard though that it is genetically impossible for some people to roll their r's, even some people born in Spanish speaking countries cannot do it.

updated OCT 10, 2010
posted by Estefaníta
I have heard that too estefanita, and I once knew an Egyptian man who made all his 'r' sounds like French 'r's'.