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Learning Article : The Russian Letter P

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The Russian Letter P

The letter P (transcribed as 'r') might confuse some Russian language-learners coming from languages that don't use this sound. Here are some tips on how to pronounce it along with some exercises to practice!

Dec 14, 2014 12:00 AM
Comments · 7

I do it the same way Lenin does, no one notices. I can't have a full "рррр" because when I try its more gutteral, like a french R. I have a hard time keeping the back of my tongue down.

September 2, 2015

Thank you Elena, that was very helpful. I didn't know where to start, when trying to learn Р. I think I will get it now just with a bit of practice and your tips.

February 12, 2015

Thanks for taking the time to write this guide, I appreciate it.   I wish I could claim success but.... sadly I just can't!  

When I started Russian almost a year ago I hoped against hope that this dreaded R sound might come after a few months, but no, it never did.  I can sort of do *something*, in certain letter combinations, but I know it's not the true sound because I can only do it when the tongue is in motion - as it flicks from one position to another, like from the D to the I in "Drink" (like the fake Lenin one, it seems?) - I am totally unable to make the continuous "cat purr" sound, and that means I can't make the sound at the end of words, like in телевизор.  I asked both my friend and my Dad if they can make this sound and they both did it, perfectly, right there and then, and they don't even need it!  It's so so so frustrating, and quite honestly I've lost any hope that I'll ever manage it :(


It's bad enough in Russian, but when I realised that this sound is mandatory in Spanish, and must be voiced so as to avoid confusion with other sounds, I immediately jettisoned my nascent thought of trying Spanish!  I can't go through that again! :)

January 15, 2017
There is a trick used by speach therapists to teach children who can not pronounce the R correctly. They take a small stick with a tiny ball on its top (it's less than a teaspoon), put the ball under the child's tongue and stir it rather fast from side to side, make a sort of vibration. At the same time the child tries to pronouns D-D-D-D-D. In such way the train the feeling of the tongue rattling like a pea in a whistle. 
June 9, 2016
Thanks so much! I am someone who pronounces rs of even her native language softer than many (it's not English) and with Russian it seemed even harder for me to create such a sound. Especially d-r method is so easy that I'm surprised. Спасибо!
June 8, 2016
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