Any tips for an American trying to learn the throaty rr sound like in arroz? Is it just listening and repeating over and over and eventually it’ll happen? I’ve learned German and the -ch as in Mich in some areas is similar but seems more forward where the double rr in português seems further back. Thanks!
Honestly, it’s kind of like a gargle… You can practice with salt water, feeling out different places in the back of your throat to make the sound. I’ve had terrific success in mastering pronunciation with the Mimic Method, if you want to check that out too.
@Molly is like a super student, but I don’t know if she’s mastered that sound and/or if she has any specific tips to give you, from one American to another. Can I put you under the spotlight?
Thanks! Under the spotlight? Sure.
Oh, I meant putting Molly under the spotlight (asking her for pronunciation tips)! Sorry, I was too vague, hah.
Got it. No worries.
The way I think of it is like a vibrating “H” sound. So as you push the air forward to make the “h” sound, you’re sort of vibrating your uvula (the little thing that hangs down in the back of your mouth).
Maybe start practicing by just making a “ha” sound, and then work on trying to direct the air through the top back of your mouth. (Slightly similar to how it feels when you try to clear your throat, but much more subtle and higher in the mouth.)
I also hear some variations in how native speakers pronounce this, so I think there may be some regional differences. Sometimes it sounds closer to just a regular H, sometimes closer to a trilled R (produced more forward in the mouth using the tip of the tongue). Usually it sounds somewhere in between to me, but closer to an H.
I usually just shoot for a fancy H and hope for the best. I hope that helps!
When I was in Portugal I found people in the north, Porto and guimaraes, much clearer to a beginner ear than in Lisbon.
Thanks! Fancy h it is
Yeah, there are regional – and, to some extent, also generational, I think – differences in how the rr is pronounced. If you’re going for the harsher throaty rr sound, I agree that it’s helpful to think of an H sound, but with the back of the tongue pushed up high and brushing against your soft palate (without sealing it altogether). It’s through that narrow gap that the rr will come through.
The sound is just about the same as the French r (as in croire)
I personally find the ‘rr’ sound to be very similar to the dutch ‘g’ - which I vocalize like an H very very far at the back of the throat. Almost like coughing up phlegm.