Rolled Rs

I’m learning Spanish as a second language. If I try to roll an R, it sounds like an R crossed with an L crossed with me spitting & then dunked in flour. (Yes, [name_u]Laurie[/name_u] reference here.) Help me! I’ve tried going on YouTube but nothing’s helped.

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its hard to help when i cant hear you and you cant hear me :upside_down_face:
all i can say is keep practising, i learned when i was younger just by listening and just repeating over and over - keep trying!

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If you’re not from the UK,* you probably say the word “ado” with what’s called a flap in linguistics. Not a proper “d”, but sort of a rapid dull d. This flap is actually a single r roll. That’s the sound you want to be making, but many times instead of once.

  • As in, if you’re an [name_f]English[/name_f] speaker from Aus, Ca, NZ, the US or a few other places. And you may even say this as a flap from the UK. It’s just RP uses far fewer flaps than other dialects.

This was one of the main reasons I decided to take [name_u]French[/name_u] when I was in high school :joy:. I can’t roll my Rs either. I’ve given up trying (nothing works for me either, I just end up feeling ridiculous and helpless) so I can’t offer anything but good luck and empathy.

@tp_b it’s funny because “ado” is a word I actually do pronounce the D really strongly in (and I have a Midwestern accent that tends to drop T and D sounds). So I must just be completely helpless haha


This is a good example of a flap:

As she says, it’s the sound in city or ready in American English.

In Aussie English, but NOT in American English, it’s the sound in eighteen or Nadine.

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@SparkleNinja18 - that’s interesting!

You do use flaps elsewhere though? Like in ready?

You’d have a very unique American accent if you didn’t use a flap at all. Also, the trouble with how our brains work is that if I prompt you to say a specific word, you will say it in a different way than how you say it in natural speech. So it’s possible that when you focus on what you’re saying you end up with a more careful pronunciation.

The gold standard in linguistics is to trick you into saying a word without realising you’re saying it, in natural speech. Bc focused speech is always different.

Note that in US [name_f]English[/name_f], ado is normally said with a flap, though if you say the French word adieu, you’re likely to say it with a proper d or with an affricate (the [name_f]English[/name_f] j), depending on how close you say it to the original [name_u] French.

I do with “ready”. The video I’ve seen before used a Spanish/Italian “r” sound to get the flap, and I can hit it once but not repeatedly (I just make strong D sounds when I try it). I don’t say “ado” in my everyday speech so it’s hard to find an example. “Much ado about nothing”—definitely hit the D.

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I’m like a year late… wow, uhm. The flap thingy and how I usually do rolled 'r’s are similar, but not the same.
Rolled Rs: the tip of my tongue rests more near the back of the bump behind the teeth, but very gently, and my tongue is kind of curled inward. With regular Rs, my tongue barely touches the top of my mouth at all
Flap in U.S. [name_f]English[/name_f]: the tip of my tongue is closer to my teeth, and not curled inward quite so much.
Either way, it’s hard to get used to rolling your Rs, so just practicing with one word in Spanish might help a little (I practice with the word ‘correr’)

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i still havent figured it out btw lol