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Natalie
Do you have any tricks to fake your Rs if you're not able to do the proper Rs in Spanish or Portuguese? After watching tons of tutorial videos of "how to roll your Rs" and getting my saliva all over the screen, I still cannot roll my fat tongue to make the propre "R" sound. However, I found out that I can actually start with my tongue touching the back of my upper teeth and slightly pulling back along the roof of my mouth, that's how I managed to fake the R sound and it wasn't too bad. I don't know if I can ever get it right but I'll keep trying.

I would like to hear about your experience about this if you have any:)

Mar 5, 2018 5:24 AM
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Comments · 6
It’s important in both Spanish and Portuguese not to confuse the single R and double R. The exact pronunciation of the double R Portuguese varies greatly depending on the region, and even Spanish has some regional variation. I provided a lot of good information on another italker's discussion a few weeks ago, so you can check that out:
March 5, 2018
I speak Spanish, not Portuguese, so it may be different but when I tried it myself just now I notice it's similar to mimicing a cat purring. Are you able to do that?

P.S. I hope you dont feel bad about it, it feels like it took me forever to get it down as a kid.

March 5, 2018
When I pronounce the Portuguese "r" at the beginning of words or the double "r", I don't work so much with the tongue but instead expel the breath against the palate. The sound comes pretty close to what I hear, I think. 
March 7, 2018
I am learning Latin American Spanish. The problem im having with the R's is that i have a partial plate in my mouth and it restricts me from trying to roll my R's. Any suggestions?
March 7, 2018

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For the weak R, on the other hand, which is probably what is giving you a hard time, and going back to your original question, a good way to fake it is to use the weak T or D sounds of English in words such as 'waTer' or 'laDDer'. I mean, in the General American pronunciation. It might be not exactly the same thing as the alveolar flap (weak R), but it's really close and you just need to speed it up a little bit to get there. I've had a good number of Chinese (Asian, for that matter) students and the weak R sound is one of the most difficult things for you guys to pick up (I don't know if it is THE most difficult one, because we have the nasal vowels to compete with it); you guys usually substitute an L sound for it, which is problematic, because 'calo' and 'caro' are different words. You can fake it till you learn it using the American English weak T or D as I said, but while you do it, try to feel and practice the correct sound.

You don't need to stress your tongue out in order to make it different from the L. The real goal here is to TEACH your BRAIN to recognize their difference. To do this, you need to understand what goes on in our mouths when we produce them: to make the L, I lift up the tip of my tongue, touch it on the roof of my mouth, and BLOCK the air from coming out through the middle or top of my mouth, instead allowing it to escape through the sides. I also can hold the L in my mouth and make it last as long as I want. To make the weak R, in turn, I quickly and gently bounce the tip of my tongue against the roof of my mouth, right behind my top teeth. I can't hold it; it's a one-movement sound. Try to do that. Slow it down. Feel it. Close your eyes. Over time, you'll not only be able to make it, but your brain will simultaneously understand it as a different sound altogether.

Hope this helps! ;)

March 7, 2018
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Natalie
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Cantonese), English, Russian
Learning Language
English, Russian