The RR sound in Spanish
The letter R in Spanish can be pronounced two ways: as a single R sound or a rolling RR sound.
The double R (or RR) sound is one that does not appear in English.
The RR in Spanish is a rolling sound where you tongue vibrates (or trills) on the roof of your mouth near the front. You can imagine it similar to the rrrrr sound when a cat purrs (yes, try it now).
This rolling sound is used for words that have the RR written in it (e.g. perro, correr etc.), but sometimes the single R has the same rolling sound in the following cases:
The letter R sounds like a RR
The letter R sounds like a RR when it goes:
- at the beginning of a word
e.g. Roberto, Roma, romero
- After the letters L, N or S
e.g. Alrededor, Enrique, Israel
Trabalenguas con RR
Trabalengua: The word “trabalengua” comes from the verb trabar (to jam) and the noun lengua (tongue)
So join these words together and it’s like a “tongue jammer” or as we say in English Tongue twister.
As you can see in the image, we have included a Tongue twister to practice the RR sound
Trabalengua para practicar:
El Perro de San Roque no tiene rabo porque Ramón Rodriguéz se lo ha robado.
All of the words with R and RR in this tongue twister are pronounced with the rolling R sound except for one of the words. Which one is it? ……… the word “porque”.
Remember tongue twisters in English often don’t make sense either so don’t over analyze the meaning of trabalenguas in Spanish either.