Pronouncing the RR

10 Steps Toward Mastering the Spanish Trill

A woman at the whiteboard in a university Spanish class

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Pronouncing the RR sound in Spanish can be difficult for some, but it's possible to learn!

10 Steps to Master the Spanish RR Sound

  1. Keep in mind that there are two R sounds in Spanish: the single R sound and the double R (or RR) sound.
  2. Keep in mind that the single R sound is used whenever the single R appears in a word, except when it's at the beginning of a word or after an L, N or S, when the RR sound is used.
  3. The RR sound is also used to sound the letter combination of rr, which used to be considered a separate letter of the Spanish alphabet.
  4. Keep in mind that the Spanish R and RR don't share the distinctive "R" sound of English. Think of them as separate letters entirely.
  5. Remember that the RR is a trilled sound formed by a flapping of the tongue against the front roof of the mouth.
  6. Visualize the front of your tongue as a flag flapping in a vigorous breeze.
  7. Now try purring like a cat. If you've succeeded, you are approximating the RR sound.
  8. Alternatively, relax and pretend you're a child making the sound of a revving-up motor.
  9. Another way is to pretend it is extremely cold. Now make the sound of exhaling with your lips flapping together. Now do the same thing with your tongue against the roof of your mouth.
  10. Alternatively, loosely hold the tip of your tongue at the front roof of your mouth. Now try blowing air between the tip of the tongue and roof of your mouth while you partly relax the tongue.

Try an Audio Lesson

To hear the rr sound in words as spoken by native speakers, listen to an audio lesson on rr. Sample words in this lesson are perro (dog), carro (car), barra (bar, such as one made of metal) and hierro (iron, the metal).

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Your Citation
Erichsen, Gerald. "Pronouncing the RR." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Erichsen, Gerald. (2020, August 28). Pronouncing the RR. Retrieved from Erichsen, Gerald. "Pronouncing the RR." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 22, 2023).