Guide to Pronouncing the Spanish R

1. The spanish R has nothing in common with the english R.

2. There is a short R, and there is a double R.

3. Let me give you an idea of the importance of accuracy.
Pero(short r: but)
perro(double r:dog)
pelo(some who can’t pronounce it will shift to an L sound: hair)
pedo(others who can’t pronounce it will shift to a D sound: fart)
Whatever you do, don’t ever resort to pronouncing the english R, it sounds terrible.

4.The short R is the easiest, contrary to what you may believe, it takes only a single motion of the tongue.

Go up to a mirror and pronounce the basic english R. Make sure your mouth is open enough to see well. Now, here’s a breakdown of what you should notice, I’m sorry, I’m not an anatomy major, so bear with me.

a. Your tongue sort of makes a bowl(or taco?) shape, the sides of your tongue press up against the roof of your mouth.

b. Now, look at the front and tip of your tongue as you hold the r sound. You will notice that the tip of your tongue rests just below the top of your mouth. That is the only part of your tongue that you need to manipulate.

c. Still looking at the mirror, hold a default english R for a second or two, to become familiar with how your tongue works. Going back to B, note that you only need the tip of your tongue. What’s happening is that the sides of your tongue are forcing the air to go through that opening at the front. All you need to do is this: while you’re holding that R sound, curve the front of your tongue back slightly, holding that curve, push the front of your tongue up against roof of your mouth. If you do it right, the air should force an opening by pushing your tongue back down. Remember, it has to be quick.
d. Now, obviously, just practice. Remember, it’s a single motion of the tongue, and it’s not supposed to sound like purring or growling, it’s a short, quick, single sound. It’s almost it’s own letter. As such, it shouldn’t resemble an english R.
e. After you get the sound itself, try simple words with it. Pero. Estar. Comer. pensar. Unless it’s at the beginning of a word, if it’s a single R, it’s most usually this single trill.

**Side note**
If this is confusing you, compare it to the pronouncing the letter D. They’re almost identical, except that for R you flick the tip of your tongue instead of simply tapping it for the d.
5. The double or long R. I suppose there are already numerous guides that tell your purr and shit, so I won’t make this redundant. I’ll just continue with my shitty pseudo-anatomy.

a. Again, consult your mirror. Then, consult 4.A and 4.B

b. You will try basically the same motion, except this time, try to firmly hold the tip of your tongue to the top of your mouth. This will force your tongue to vibrate, and you should have that trill sound.

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