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

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.
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    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.
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    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.
     

    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.
     

    JulianStuart

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

    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". ;)
     

    tomtombp

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    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". ;)
    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?
     

    Scott AM

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

    kentix

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

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    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).
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    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.
     

    Scott AM

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

    Radioh

    Senior Member
    Vietnamese
    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".
    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?
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    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.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    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".
    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". :)
     

    tomtombp

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    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". :)
    Haha, yes - I was wondering about that. They should just do like North Americans and pronounce it "lawnorder". ;)
    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:

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Adding an "r" would just make it trickier for me to pronounce it.
    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. :)
     

    tomtombp

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    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. :)
    Haha no, I don't intend to do it. I was just reacting to this comment:
    The intrusive "r" helps the flow of the expression. "Lor and order" is easier to pronounce than "law and order".
     
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