pronunciation: 'r' added to words ending in "a" in BrE [idea(r)]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by tomtombp, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. tomtombp Senior Member

    Hungarian
    I keep hearing BrE speakers add an "r"' sound to words that end in "a".

    Idea(r)
    Area(r)
    Mazda(r)

    Has anybody else noticed it? I wonder why it is done and when that "r" should be added and when not.
     
  2. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    It is automatic, and it is always done when the next word begins with a vowel. It is a generalization of the fact that the letter <r> is silent in words like 'butter' unless a vowel follows:

    butter for bread [ə]
    idea for a novel [ə]

    butter on bread [ər]
    idea on a novel [ər]

    Similarly, 'law' and 'shore' are exact rhymes, so both end in the vowel [ɔ:] before a consonant, but take a linking [r] to give [ɔ:r] when they come before another vowel.
     
  3. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
  4. heypresto

    heypresto Senior Member

    South East England
    English - England
    You may hear an 'r' creep in between words like this and a following word beginning with a vowel, as in, say, 'his idea(r) of happiness' or 'the area(r) of a circle', but I don't think I've heard an 'r' at the end of them in any other context.


    Cross-posted.
     
  5. tomtombp Senior Member

    Hungarian
    Thank you everyone, I'm glad to hear it's such a well-known phenomenon. I'll read all the linked threads. And yes "saw" and "law" are other common examples I keep hearing with the "r" sound added.
     
  6. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    There are no occasions when it should be added. It is fine (some would say it is better) to leave it out.
     
  7. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    When we took out the r sounds from other words (like word) we had to find somewhere to put them :D
     
  8. tomtombp Senior Member

    Hungarian
    Haha thanks I'm relieved. I'm afraid I'm one of those who say it's better to leave it out :)
     
  9. heypresto

    heypresto Senior Member

    South East England
    English - England
    :thumbsup: Occasionally you hear speakers very carefully avoiding this 'r' sound. With some it sounds perfectly natural, and with others it can sound somehow false and unnatural.

    It's a bit like splitting infinitives in this regard.
     
  10. tomtombp Senior Member

    Hungarian
    Haha, yes that makes perfect sense Julian and in accordance with the law(r) of conservation of energy :D
     
  11. Scott AM

    Scott AM Senior Member

    English - Canada
    This reminds me of the time a co-worker of mine watched a British program about the rivalry between Formula 1 race drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Thanks to the narrator, he came away with the impression that the one driver's last name was "Lauder". ;)
     
  12. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    The intrusive "r" helps the flow of the expression. "Lor and order" is easier to pronounce than "law and order". Nevertheless, I try to avoid intrusive "r".
     
  13. tomtombp Senior Member

    Hungarian
    Yes, that's a good one too and another one I've heard and was shocked at as I knew he was called Lauda. Do Canadians do this too?
     
  14. Scott AM

    Scott AM Senior Member

    English - Canada
    No, this is not common to Canadian English. Which is why this example is more notable! ;)
     
  15. kentix

    kentix Senior Member

    English - U.S.
    Some American accents do the same thing but it's not the majority way of speaking.
     
  16. dojibear

    dojibear Senior Member

    Fresno CA
    English - Northeast US
    If I remember correctly, the "added trailing r" is part of a Maine accent.

    My original (New Jersey) accent didn't add 'r' on the end of words, but added 'r' inside wash (warsh) and Washington (Warshington).
     
  17. RM1(SS)

    RM1(SS) Senior Member

    Connecticut
    English - US (Midwest)
    I've known people from Connecticut who tack on that extra r, and not just between words.

    - "What's this?"
    - "I have no idear."

    Sound shift's comment about the difficulty of saying "law and order" has me baffled.
     
  18. Scott AM

    Scott AM Senior Member

    English - Canada
    Haha, yes - I was wondering about that. They should just do like North Americans and pronounce it "lawnorder". ;)
     
  19. kentix

    kentix Senior Member

    English - U.S.
    Did you see the quote below from entangledbank?

    That might explain it. In American English they aren't even in the neighborhood of a rhyme.
     
  20. tomtombp Senior Member

    Hungarian
    I don't understand where the difficulty lies either...
     
  21. Hermione Golightly

    Hermione Golightly Senior Member

    London
    British English
    It's not difficult to say if you care, but many people don't care and are lazy. I was brought up to care.
     
  22. Radioh

    Radioh Senior Member

    Sydney, Australia
    Vietnamese
    I think I hear this intrusive R in Australian English too, most notably in the Law and order example stated above. But I'm not sure. Can anyone confirm this please? Or is it just me and my bad hearing?
     
  23. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    Yes, it's normal in Australian English. As in England English, 'law' and 'shore' are exact rhymes and behave exactly alike.
     
  24. Radioh

    Radioh Senior Member

    Sydney, Australia
    Vietnamese
    Thanks :D
     
  25. DonnyB

    DonnyB Sixties Mod

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I must admit I tend to say "Lor an' order". It's because of the following vowel in "and": if I try and deliberately pronounce it "law and..." it sounds a bit jerky. But I don't have the same problem with, for example, "law firm". :)
     
  26. "lawnorder"! :D That's precious. Problem solved!:)
     
  27. I know President Kennedy was notorious for pronouncing Cuba as "Cuber", even when there was no other word following it.:)
     
  28. tomtombp Senior Member

    Hungarian
    I'm with the American speakers on this. The "w" is silent so you can join the two "a"s. Adding an "r" would just make it trickier for me to pronounce it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  29. heypresto

    heypresto Senior Member

    South East England
    English - England
    We don't deliberately add the R to make it easier to pronounce - it just happens to some of us BE speakers quite naturally. So don't feel you should be adding it, or feel as if you're getting it wrong by not adding it. :)
     
  30. tomtombp Senior Member

    Hungarian
    Haha no, I don't intend to do it. I was just reacting to this comment:
     
  31. heypresto

    heypresto Senior Member

    South East England
    English - England
    That's a fair point. :)
     

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