be unable to pronounce 'r' and 'l' properly

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Ivan_I

Senior Member
Russian
Do you have a verb which expresses the idea of a person being unable to pronounce 'r' and 'l' properly?
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Lallation means pronouncing /r/ as [l], but I've never seen a verb 'lallate' from it. Most people wouldn't know the word anyway.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'Roll' is commonly misused. A rolled R is the sound used in Russian, but not in English, French, or German. Yet English-speakers often speak of 'rolling an R' as if it's any pronunciation of R, and 'can't roll' for any non-standard pronunciation. (No-one mistakenly rolls R's, in the phonetic sense of 'roll'.) And I don't think even those people would speak of rolling their L's.
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I may not be 100% correct here, but as I understand 'rolling', Rs are often rolled in Scotland, but not in any other accent or dialect of English.
     
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    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Yes, the traditional Scottish pronunciation is a rolled /r/, though I don't know whether many people still do it.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Spanish has rolled Rs and non-rolled Rs (Rs similar to many languages). They are spelled "rr" and "r".

    The English R sound is 100% different from both of those. It is a sound that is only used in a few languages. It is closer to a vowel sound than a consonant sound. It is an "approximant", meaning the tongue comes "near" mouth parts but does not touch them.

    So an English R cannot be "rolled", since the tongue never touches at all, and "rolling" is repeated touches.

    Inability to pronounce R is a well-known speech impediment. In the 1930s-1950s, a famous American cartoon character (Elmer Fudd) had this problem. He pronounced all Rs as Ws. He called Bugs Bunny a "wascally wabbit" (rascally rabbit). In 2019, a famous British comedian is known for this problem. English speakers hear the different sound (W instead of R) but can easily understand what the person is saying.

    In medical contexts inability to pronounce R is called "rhotacism". Speech pathologists calls it "de-rhotacization", because the sounds lose their "rhotic" quality.

    "Rhotic" means "R-sounding". It is one of the biggest differences in English. Most American English is rhotic, while most British English is non-rhotic (they do not pronounce R after a vowel: "hear, bear, care, dare" etc.).
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    The English R sound is 100% different from both of those. It is a sound that is only used in a few languages. It is closer to a vowel sound than a consonant sound. It is an "approximant", meaning the tongue comes "near" mouth parts but does not touch them.
    The back edges of my tongue are definitely touching the roof of my mouth when I say the R sound.
     
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