Site Feedback

Undecided questions
the pronunciation of Р

i'm wondering if it's wrong to pronounce P with uvula.

it seems like i was vibrating my uvula but not my tongue when i say Р in Russian -_-'

For learning: Russian
Base language: English
Category: Language



    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.



    Sort by:

    yes, it completely wrong.
    Here's some tips how to do this sound:

    Here is the way nof pronouncing it.
    1 Язык оттянут назад. 1 The tongue is pulled back.
    2 Кончик языка поднят к альвеолам, слегка их касается. 2 The tip of the tongue is raised towards the teethridge and touches it lightly.
    3 Воздушная выдыхаемая струя направляется на кончик языка, который вибрирует. 3 The outgoing air stream is directed towards the tip of the tongue, which vibrates.

    Try to growl like a tiger and you will find this sound)

    Part 1: technical.

    There is a great range of 'uvular R's'! From the one that sounds as an angry dog: [rrrrrrr]
    To the something like [kh]: [rhhhh]

    To get an idea - look how the pronunciation of it shifted in French.
    I.e. compare R of Edith Piaf (if you didn't listen Piaf, just do it immediately!!!!!!!) with the common modern French. On the scale above i'd classify Piaf's R as [RrhhRh] - somewhere in the middle. Usually French R sounds as [rrhhhh], close to the right end of the scale.

    [rrrrrrr] - pure trill - variation doesn't exist in French, so France possesses only a part of the scale. This variation sounds more like 'alveolar R'. Not everybody can tell one from another. At least my fellow linguist was surprised when I told him that my R is uvular one. I was astonished too: I though it was obvious.

    The difference is most striking, when it's palatalized ('soft') sound: Рь.
    So I learned how to produce Рь sound with my tongue in a childhood - still having 'uvular R' for 'hard R'. That's because 'hard R' is a trill in Russian, and 'soft' R isn't a trill at all.

    As I said - it seems pretty hard to learn uvular R without [h] mixing into it. The tongue participates in formation too, not just uvula. Though only uvula vibrates.

    [rhhhh] in Russia is closely associated with Jewish Russian. They retain this pronunciation from Yiddish.

    Part 2: perception.

    When someone 'картавит', as we call it, Jews come in mind. It's the [rhhhh] variation that is associated with the Jews, though actually there're both variants in their speech.

    [rhhhh] is generally considered a less pleasant type and rarely considered 'cute' (if it isn't Piaf:)

    With the [rrrrrr] type you can be a DJ or run a show on radio or TV - and nor your boss not the listeners will see something wrong with it. It's hardly considered as 'impediment' or defect, not everybody will even recognize that it is an uvular sound (do you remember what I've said about palatal 'Рь'? Uvular palatal is easily recognized....)

    But you won't work as a newscaster- they must have the most correct pronunciation possible.

    With the [rhhhh] type it'd be much harder to get a job on radio.

    As it comes to myself.... I'm unhappy with some features of my speech, but this one I'd never change. My R gets rather positive reaction)

    Submit your answer

    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.

    If you copy this answer from another italki answer page, please state the URL of where you got your answer from.