pronunciation - r - third category?

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Senior Member
Summarizing "r" & "rr" Pronunciations:
Last week I asked for help with the pronunciations of the "r" & "rr" sounds. The response was overwhelming, but I was still left with uncertainty on the pronunciations, particularly with the "r" in certain positions. It appears to me, that there are two other, distinct, sounds that can be generated with the single "r" (in addition to the flap "r" and the rolled "rr" sounds). Therefore, what I would like to do is summarize what you all have said, and request that if anyone has differing views, or can elaborate, please do so, as clearly as possible. Please check the reference I have cited at the bottom.

I have noted that on other forums the "r" sound is also being "hashed out"" over and over again. Maybe we can get something definitive here (let's hope).

The following are words with "r" sounds that I have sorted, as best that can, into similar "r" sound patterns. Please correct, or elaborate, as you see fit, if you would.
1. "rr" sounding words (strongly trilled or rolled "rr"). This sound is formed with two r’s between vowels, and, after n, l, or s, and also, apparently, in other situations * See References below:
perro, enredo, libro, sonrisa, rico, carro, primo (note rolled "r" sounds with a single r... Correct?)
Others =
2. Single flapped "r" (like the "dd" sounds in ladder)
María, Mariela, pero, cero, caro, claro, para, aire, norte?, triste?.
Others =

3. Single "r" not flapped, but with a light to medium trill (not a full, strong, trill "rr"), depending on the position of the "r".
truco, trigo, broma, crudo, Marcelo, dragón, sobre, frío, abrogar, tornado [words that are not fully rolled or flapped]
Others =

"Bonus" words: (words with a combination of "r" sounds, unknown by me (but with my best guesses) -- enfermera (#3 not flapped & flapped, #2?), Roberto (#3 and #2)?, contar (#3?), otro?, correr ("rr" #1 and like #1 but with light trill), Margarita ( #1 ? & flapped r #2 ?) Please help with these!

It appears that there is no universal set of "rules" that handle all "r" situations, and most audio files and Spanish dictionary are not clear enough to be able to make the fine distinctions that are often required to pronunouce the words correctly. Does anyone have a "good/excellent" source for getting the correct pronunications? A good, complete, source like that would be worth a fortune! Of course, problems with regionality would have to be addressed.

Please make any changes, or corrections, in RED so that they are clearly seen.
I think that this could be very helpful to many people out there. I consider this an important issue in learning to correctly speak Spanish
Thanks so much to everybody all the assistance.

Evan Magnuson
Hammond, LA

and, also, see pdf attachment from the Harvard College Library Archives (thanks to Google).
  • mariana_diaz

    Senior Member
    Castellano - Argentina

    Notice that all examples of your third category have the "r" in a "liquid" position after a "liquefying" consonant. In these cases, a single flapping sound blends into the utterance of the previous consonant, exactly the same as in English.

    Based on what you say, I see not enough reason to create this third category. And the understanding of where to use either single of multiple flapping is quite obvious and standard for Spanish speakers.
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