Black boy in t-shirt pronouncing R cartoon

How to roll your Rs

Let me tell you something has disappointed many: learning how to roll those Rs! It’s like, you’re trying to learn a language and suddenly you feel like a baby trying to say its first word. Whether it’s Italian or Spanish, you’re gonna struggle!

I mean, have you ever seen someone trying to roll their Rs? It’s like they’re performing some kind of contortionist act with their mouth! And then they look at you with this desperate look in their eyes, like they’re begging you to teach them the secret to the R-roll.

But let me tell you, even after hours of practice, you might still sound like you’ve got a mouthful of marbles. Meanwhile, native speakers are just rolling their Rs like it’s the easiest thing in the world! It’s like, “Oh yeah, sure, just roll your Rs, no big deal.”

How To Roll Your Rs

Did you know that the rolled R has a fancy technical name? It’s called the alveolar trill. And you know where you can find it? You find this sound in a bunch of languages, such as Italian, Spanish, Arabic, and Malay.

Now, the rolled R may not be the end of the world when it comes to communication, but let’s be real here – if you can’t roll your Rs, you might sound like a little baby. However, there are actually tips and tricks that can help you roll those Rs like a pro. And I’m not just talking about drinking a ton of water or sticking your tongue out (although those might help too).

So if you’re struggling with the rolled R, don’t be shy – try out these tips and you might just surprise yourself with how quickly you can improve. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll be able to roll your Rs better than all those native speakers out there!

The key to making the R sound lies in the mouth

Okay, people, listen up! I’m about to drop some knowledge on you that’s gonna change the way you think about rolling those Rs.

So you might think that the tongue is the star of the show here, but that’s not entirely true. It’s all about the air, baby! That’s right, it’s the air flowing through your mouth that creates that sweet, sweet rolling sound.

Now, the key to getting that air flowing just right is all in the tongue placement. You gotta put that bad boy right under the palate and just let it chill there. Don’t tense up, don’t freak out – just let your tongue do its thing.

And here’s a little secret tip: smiling might just be the key to success. That’s right, folks, a little smile can go a long way when it comes to rolling those Rs. It’s like a secret weapon that you never knew you had!

So go ahead, put your tongue in position, relax, and let the air flow. And don’t forget to flash a little smile while you’re at it – you might just surprise yourself with how quickly you can nail that rolling sound.

Get Into Position

Are you struggling with the tongue placement for that rolled R? First of all, have you ever said the word “D” before? Yeah, that’s right, just the letter D. Now, try saying it a few times and pay attention to where your tongue is. That’s the position you wanna be in when you go for that rolled R sound.

And if you wanna get really comfortable with that tongue placement, try saying the word “drape” a bunch of times before rolling your Rs. 

Some even suggest putting a pencil between your teeth when you speak (but we will let you decide if you want to try it). It’ll force your tongue into the right position.

Tongue twisters

Do you remember tongue twisters? Those little phrases that are impossible to say without tripping over your own tongue? Well, guess what – they’re not just for kids anymore.

That’s right, my friends, tongue twisters are the ultimate secret weapon when it comes to nailing that rolled R sound. It’s like a workout for your tongue, but way more fun than doing push-ups or whatever.

And if you really wanna challenge yourself, try out some Italian tongue twisters listed here.

Imitate animals

Okay, okay, so it may be time to turn to our furry friends for a little inspiration.

That’s right, folks. I’m talking about channeling your inner tiger or dog and letting out a big ol’ GRRRRRR. I mean, think about it. Tigers and dogs have some of the most impressive growls in the animal kingdom, and they make it sound so effortless.

So why not take a page out of their book? Next time you’re practicing your rolled R, pretend you’re a fierce tiger or a loyal dog and imitate their sound. It might sound silly, but it works.

The interactive IPA chart

Alright, folks, time to get serious for a second. If all else fails, there’s one surefire way to learn how to roll your Rs: using the interactive IPA chart.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “The interactive what chart?” Basically, the chart shows you exactly where your tongue should be and what your mouth should be doing to produce the perfect rolled R sound. And if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can even copy the model they provide.

Wrapping Up!

It takes work to get those Rs rolling. But don’t give up, my friends. Practice makes perfect.

So keep at it, and don’t be afraid to sound a little silly in the process. Embrace the weird mouth shapes and the awkward tongue positions.

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  1. Your practical suggestions are helpful. But I must say I did pass on putting the pencil between my mouth when speaking.

    The animal-themed practice is fun. I keep thinking of the film Austin Powers and how Mike Myers’ character seemed to be able to roll his R’s beautifully when pretending to be a tiger or other animal.

    Thanks for the fun post. Now, I have a great exercise program for my tongue.

  2. I like this article as it is entertaining as well as informative. I do not have a head for languages, having tried Babble and Duo (not being able to retain a thing). Neither of those apps talked about alveolar trill – rolling those RRR’s. Knowing where to place your tongue, or imitating my cat to make the right sound is a good place to start practicing. Thanks for the info.


    1. Hi Deedee.Please, don’t give up on languages! Learning while having fun is the key!
      Thanks for your comment about this post!

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