Teaching the Spanish R

By Pam Marshalla

Q: Do you know how to teach the Spanish R?

I believe there are YouTube videos of Spanish-speaking people teaching this sound. I would search around there for ideas.

I have had to teach a trilled R to only a few people in my career. Here are two different approaches that have worked for me––

Bilabial Raspberry

Have the client produce a bilabial raspberry. Then have him produce a raspberry with the front of the tongue pressing firmly up against the upper lip only. Then have him pull this raspberry into the mouth and press the front of the tongue against the palate.

Build the Sound Around E, D, and Z

Long E

Have the client say Long E: Eeeeeeeee. This braces the back lateral margins of the tongue against the molars and palate in the back. This is key. The client has to have the tongue braced.

While saying Eeeeeee, have the client say Zzzzz and D back and forth. This pulls the front of the tongue up toward the palate.

Now have him continue the above and press the front of the tongue gradually, gently but firmly, upward more until the front of the tongue begins to bounce against the palate.

0 thoughts on “Teaching the Spanish R”

  1. I have done taught the Spanish r sound to a biliingual student a couple years ago.
    I had great success starting with the phrase “a day.” We said it over and over, faster and faster until it sounded like “rey” (Spanish for king). From there we changed the vowel to i, a, o, u. Then the word level and so on. Once she had the single r, she really blossomed and picked up the rr. She was able to do it better than me rather quickly.

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