pronunciation: r BE [consider, are, better]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by RedRaiN, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. RedRaiN

    RedRaiN Member

    Spanish - Spain
    Hello. I would like native speakers who use the stantard English accent (BBC, for example) to answer, please.

    The word "Consider" (for example) is pronounced like that: /kənˈsɪdə/. But when it is followed by another word, like in "Consider it done", people pronounce R.

    My question is: If I pronounce /kənˈsɪdəɪtdʌn/ (without pronouncing letter r), Am I making a mistake? Or is it correct but too posh? Bear in mind that I want to learn the standard English accent.

    Other examples: Are (You are_ordinary), Better (better_experienced), Water (water_is), etc... CAN I SKIP "R" WHEN PRONOUNCING THOSE COMPOUNDS?

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2012
  2. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    In "BBC English" the final 'r' is as you describe /kənˈsɪdə/. The BBC World Service seems to give each word is full value and avoids running one word into the next. (Particularly noticeable on news programs) The end result is what you want: you can skip the "r" when pronouncing those compounds.
  3. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    There are a couple of terms you should know:

    1. The accent you're trying to learn is often called received pronunciation (RP). It's also known as BBC English or the Queen's (or King's) English.

    2. The concept you're discussing is the difference between rhotic and non-rhotic speech. Rhotic speech, from the Greek "rho" which corresponds to the Latin/English "r," pronounces this letter. Non-rhotic speech doesn't pronounce it, unless (as you noted) it is followed by a vowel sound. (Note that "followed by a vowel sound" and "the next letter is a vowel" do not always go together.)

    RP is non-rhotic. Individual speakers may, as previously posted, separate words enough that the next sound isn't perceived as following immediately. In that case, the following-vowel-sound exception may not apply and the "r" may not be pronounced.

    By the way, please don't write in all upper-case letters. That's the Internet equivalent of shouting. Nobody likes to be shouted at, especially if the person shouting at them is also asking them for free help.
  4. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    My own reaction is that the "linking r" is generally pronounced in connected speech in RP. That may be changing under the influence of other dialects - but I don't think so. (I'll see if I can find anything to indicate it is:).) My impression, in fact, is that, if anything, the move in the recent past has been towards adding an "intrusive r" where it's not warranted: towards adding an /r/ between "saw" and it" in "I saw it", for example.
  5. Copperknickers Senior Member

    Scotland - Scots and English
    There is no such thing as the 'standard English accent'. There is standard English English, but accent is a different thing altogether. Queen's English is perhaps the least common accent in the country, since it has no regional area where it is spoken. The RP, or better still, Home Counties, accent (since RP still has connotations of being Upper Class) varies. For me, it would depend on the context.

    If I was announcing, as on a news program, I wouldn't pronounce the R. However in normal speech, I always do, unless I wanted to emphasise the word.
  6. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I'm a rhotic speaker.
    I believe that I do not often hear non-rhotics pronounce the r in compounds such as "consider it".
    Here's a long thread about the intrusive "r" - Intrusive 'r'
  7. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    I think* I agree with this.

    Even on the BBC world news** the r would be included most of the time unless each ... word ... was ... being ... separately ... enunciated. Loob's example is quite apropos: One of the most common accent-related questions I have received from folks over here about some of the English they have heard goes along the lines of " "I sore it" instead of "I saw it" - What's up with that?"

    In any case, the first accent I thought of for the "consider it" example, where the r was totally absent, was a New England non-rhotic or perhaps some Southern one - rather than anything I am familiar with in BrE. It almost seems to blow up the schwa into a full blown UH with a sort of glottal (?) stop (a bit like some over here who use this before some, but usually not all, vowel sounds for the word the as in "thuh end") to me, that's extra effort and not very euphonious.

    *But I've been in the US for a while so my recollections may be tinged :D

    **However, the range of accents of newsreaders these days has been broadened quite extensively beyond what used to be a fairly narrowly constrained range of "BBC accents". They share excellent enunciation, however, so they are easily understood.
  8. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Just to report back - I haven't found anything to indicate that the "linking r" is disappearing in RP.

    But as regards newsreaders, I did come across this - to me:) - interesting statistic in an answer by John Wells to a comment on his "Phonetic blog" (see his post of 24 November 2010 here):
  9. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Thanks Loob - actual quantitative data! I will have to delve (probably in extenso) to see if the "possible cases" include situations where, from sentence structure, a pause between the r and following vowel might have been expected. I'll pay more attention to this over the next few bulletins :D
  10. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Me, too, Julian!

    Looking back at RedRaiN's specific question about what he, as a student of English, should do, the only advice I've found so far is this:

    There must be more advice out there:D.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  11. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I would pronounce the /r/s there as well because they do help in the flow of the speech, so I agree with the advice quoted by Loob. (Without it, you'd need to insert a glottal sop or equivalent.) I once heard someone say 'interact' without the /r/, and that pronunciation just drew a lot of attention to itself!
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012

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