How To Roll Your Rs In Spanish: Top Tips For Spanish Learners
By Maria Ansede
The double ‘r’ sound in Spanish is one of the most difficult things for many learners not used to it in their native language. This sound is usually the last one a Spanish-speaking child learns to produce. Not everyone is able to do it perfectly but if this is challenging for you, practise is the only way to master it, so you just need to be persistent and patient. Being able to mark the distinction between words such as ‘perro’ (dog) and ‘pero’ (but) or ‘caro’ (expensive) and ‘carro’ (carriage and also car in Latin America) and many others will make a significant difference in your ability to communicate effectively in Spanish. In order to help you to achieve this, we’ve put together a few important tips about how to roll your Rs that you can easily follow.
Train Your Tongue
The placement of your tongue is essential: it should touch your palate and flap rapidly to vibrate. The ‘tr’ or ‘dr’ sounds in English are a good starting place to positioning your tongue for the Spanish ‘rr’. Try to practice first with words such as ‘drop’, ‘tree’, ‘track’ or ‘Dracula’.
Let Your Inner Animal Out
Think about a purring kitten or an angry lion. They sure know how to slowly roll their R’s. It may seem a bit silly for you but don’t hesitate to purr or growl to imitate their sound because it’s a good way to fix the position of your tongue for the following Spanish words.
Spanish Tongue Twisters
Once you warmed up your mouth muscles, you can practice trying to pronounce these well-known trabalenguas (tongue twisters):
– El perro de San Roque no tiene rabo porque Ramon Ramirez se lo ha robado.
The dog from San Roque does not have a tail because Ramón Ramirez has stolen it.
– Tres tristes tigres tragaban trigo en tres tristes trastos sentados tras un trigal.
Three sad tigers swallowed wheat in three sad utensils seated behind a wheatfield.
– Rápido ruedan las ruedas sobre los rieles del ferrocarril.
Quickly run the cars, over the rails of the railroad.
And remember, don’t feel awkward about not grasping the rolling sound at the beginning; native speakers love charming accents anyway and practicing as much as you can is the key to success!
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