Roney Assis Souza
R sounds in Italian

Which are the sounds of R in Italian? Are there more than one sound? Or it's always the same?

In Spanish there are two R sounds: a tap (in "pero", for example) and a trill (in "perro", for example).

In Italian, it's always a trill or there's the more weak (tap) way in some occasions?

Apr 26, 2017 1:40 AM
Comments · 5
So, in Italian one has always a trilled R, that can be even stronger when in stressed syllables. Correct?
May 1, 2017

Grazie mille, Paolo.

May 1, 2017
If you compare Italian to Spanish you can find some similarities but also some differences.
As you know, IPA /ɾ/ indicates a tap and /r/ a trill (1-2 tapping).
In Spanish you have the two “r’s”  /ɾ rː/ [ɾ rː], in Italian you have one “r” that can be geminated like all other contoids: /r/ [r, ɾ] and /r-r/ [rːɾ]. I use a hyphen to mark the syllable structure.
Look at these examples, Spanish vs. Italian:
raro /ˈɾaɾo/ [ˈɾaˑɾo] raro /ˈraro/ [ˈraːɾo]  
tierra /ˈtjeɾrːa/ [ˈtjɛɾ-rːa] terra /ˈtɛrra/ [ˈtɛrː-ɾa]
la radio /la ɾˈrːadjo/ [la ɾˈrːaˑðjo] la radio /la ˈradjo/ [la ˈraːdjo]
So, basically, starting from Spanish, you might be tempted to use a “long r” when there is none (typically at the beginning of words); also when a geminated r is present in Italian, as we saw it is somewhat different from a Spanish /ɾrː/.
Speaking about the allophone for Italian /r/, [r] is used in stressed sillables and [ɾ] elsewhere.
May 1, 2017

Thank you for commenting, buddy. I'ven listened to a lot of native speakers (YouTube), but I couldn't define if exists or not a difference. It seems that some people pronounce it as a tap and some people pronounce it as a trill.

Listening to the song Vivo per Lei by Andrea Bocelli, I told that he pronounce it as a trill in both cases (as diphthong and at the end of the syllable) in the word "atraverso", for example. But in other cases inside the song, it seems to be a tap. So, I'm a little bit confused about that.

In Swedish, the R is always pronounced as a trill, either as a diphthong, in the middle of the word or at the end of syllables. As you said, in Italian is the same, isn't it?

April 26, 2017
Hi, I'll be sincere. By my point of view of native, I'd say: we always have the same pronunciation (you call it "trill") whereas there are examples like you say, and Albanian -- which defines R (rounded) and RR (R with trill). Of course, there is people who is not able to pronounce the trill, or they might even do it in order to appear somehow "noble" (because it reminds the French language: but this actually is a neurosis..). So, I have never heard of any rule or exception about letter R, which -- by the way -- makes it a distinctive feature of Italian speakers of a foreign language -- especially English. So, unless you stayed in Italy for the rest of your life, this is not an issue, and even if so, tell me if you'd ever find an italian word with a rounded R. 
April 26, 2017