The Spanish “R”–Tips to Understanding It

How many of you can actually roll your “R”, so that it has a trill? Believe it or not, not every Spanish speaker pronounces their R’s with a trill–even with the R’s we’ve been taught to do so with…Let me expain: In this post we’re going to talk a little bit about the Spanish “R”, when you should and shouldn’t pronounce it with a trill, and whether or not it even really matters!

When the first letter of a word begins with an “R” or for any words that contain the “RR” , it technically should be pronounced with a trill (like when you roll your “R”, rrrrrrrrrrr, but with your tongue curled and kind of flapping as air passes quickly through it). The letter “R” anywhere but at the beginning of the word is pronounced without a trill. (Or so they say…)

The above stated are the rules, but they’re not hard and fast…when you get out in the real world, you’ll discover that a great many native Spanish speakers do not and cannot trill their R’s! And even if they can trill their R’s, a lot of them don’t when you’re taught they should.  Many of them have their own unique, regional accent for the “R” or “RR” pronunciation.

What’s our point? Don’t sweat it 😉 Being able to trill or not trill an “R” is not going to distinguish you from the natives or make it more noticeable that you are not a native Spanish speaker.  You might actually find yourself trilling your R’s in an area where no one else does it, and then you’ll really stick out!

Below is a small infographic for fun on “R” trilling in Spanish.  We hope you enjoy and if you have any questions or confusions, just ask! We’d love to hear from you 😉

when and when not to trill the Spanish R
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