One of the greatest challenges for you as a Spanish Language student is knowing how to roll your Rs. Spanish speakers are renowned for the strength of their ‘R’. You can notice just how strong it is when you hear them speak English. (I RRRRReally like this!)
Getting the ‘R’ sound right is not for the feint hearted, yet worry not. There are some things that you can do to strengthen up that R and really learn how to roll your Rs, even if you have what is known in the trade as a ‘Jonathan Ross R’.
It’s all about strengthening the muscle that is used to produce the sound and one which is often rarely put into action.
This is how you do it.
STEP 1. Start by pretending to be cold. Really force out the sound: ‘BRRRR’. This has the effect of beginning to strengthen the muscle needed to roll the ‘R’.
STEP 2. Once you can get some ‘clicks’ of the tongue going, albeit exaggeratedly, then change the ‘BRRRR’ to a ‘DRRRR’. Pretend to be a motorbike or a man digging the road. This not only works to strengthen the necessary muscles but also helps put the mouth into the correct shape and position.
STEP 3. After a while you will notice that you can hold the R’s for a little longer. (This can take weeks or days, depending on you and the effort you put into it.)
AVISO. At this stage, even though you can get the roll, you may find that you still struggle to get the sound into speech. This is normal. The first three steps are just to get the muscle working.
The fact is that the R’s in any Spanish word either roll onto a vowel or roll off a vowel. Thus, this is what you are going to practice now to how to roll your R’s in an authentic way.
You go through the vowels this way:
ARRRR, ERRRR, IRRRR, ORRRR, URRRR,
Then you turn them round:
RRRRA, RRRRE. RRRRI, RRRRO, RRRRU
The more you practice this, the better your Spanish Pronunciation will be. You can do this when you’re driving, walking, in the bath or wherever, but be sure that you are ALONE! Check out our podcast on the R to help you along the way.
Do this every day and you’ll be amazed how quickly you can get a real authentic sound. And, finally, it’s very difficult to be ‘over the top’ with the ‘R’, so don’t hold back. ¡A por ello!