explanation vocabulary / grammar video show / hide

  2.16.1 Exercises and explanations concerning the rolling 'r'

1 explanation
  As we already said the Italian r unlike the English r is produced at the same place, where the d is produced. The tip of the tongue is pressed against the upper incisors. But when we produce a d, the tongue is pressed strongly against the incisors and the air is dammed behind the tongue and released when producing the d.

But if the tip of the tongue is already at the right place it is easier to produce a rolling r. Therefore we start with a word, where the tongue is already at the right place.

  don't pronounce it like that :  
  drink, drink, drink
  but like that :
  drink, drink, drink

At the beginning, when pronouncing the d or the t you press your tongue strongly against the upper incisors (obviously that's nothing you have to practise, that's something you are already doing all the time). Now you have to try to loosen up your tongue, not too much, but enough to allow it to flutter.

2 Plan B
  If that doesn't help we use Plan B. We put the tip of the tongue on the upper incisors and we open the mouth. Besides that we do absolutely nothing. Then we concentrate on having just enough tension on our tongue to avoid that it falls down. Then we breathe out. At the beginning the tongue will not flutter, it is more probable that the pressure of the stream of air will pull it down, and when we stop breathing, it will go up again. That's not the way we imagined it, but is a good beginning. We repeat the exercise, putting a bit more pressure on our tongue. If we repeat that several times, we are going to find the right pressure, the tongue will flutter.

If the tongue flutters, we return to plan a.

  drrrrrrink, drrrrrink, drrrrrink
  drrrrragon, drrragon, drrrragon

If we succeed doing that, we continue with Italian words. At the beginning we start with simple ones. That means with words where before the r is a t or a d and the tongue is therefore already in the right position.

  treno = train
  tre = three
  trenta = thirty
  strano = strange
  dottrina = doctrine

If you succeed in doing that, you can continue with more difficult words, where the r is to be produced in a more difficult situation, in other words, when not preceded by d or t.

  prezzo = price
  proposta = proposal
  monarca = monarch
  grande = big
  fare = to do
  essere = to be

Those, who speak Spanish are going to ask themselves if the difference between r and rr is the same in Italian as in Spanish and indeed it is. In the case of a single r the tongue flutters only once and in the case of the double rr it flutters several times.

  carro = cart
  caro = expensive

contact privacy statement imprint