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The R-blend Sound


The American R is like a vowel because it does not touch anywhere in the mouth. In Korean, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Greek and many other languages, the R is a consonant because it touches behind the teeth. The American R is produced deep in the throat. Like the French R and the German R, the American R is in the throat, but unlike those two consonant sounds, it doesn't touch. Let's contrast two similar sounds: [ä] and [r]. Hold your hand out in front of you, with your palm up, like you are holding a tray on it. Slightly drop your hand down, and say ah, like you want the doctor to see your throat. Now, curl your fingers up slightly, and say [r]. Your tongue should feel in about the same position as your hand.


The cluster "tr" which resembles one affricative sound like a very hard [ch].

The R sound is very challenging for many non-native speakers (and some native speakers, too!).

Instructions to make this sound: Is your tongue raised high in the center of your mouthOr is your tongue tip curled back to the center of your mouth, not touching the roofThere is no vibrating motion of the tongue-just a smooth movement.

Common Problems: Using an L, so "rate" sounds like "late."

Common Spellings: R as in “ring,” RR as in “worry,” RH as in “rhyme,” WR as in “wreck,” L as in “colonel.”

read                                       read the paper

rent                                         raise the rent                                  

very                                        it’s very realistic                 

arrive                                     arrive early Friday             

they’re                                   they’re near here               

our                                          it’s our turn                         

farther                                    move farther forward 

Can you determine the square root of forty-four? 

Ron’s voice was hoarse and his throat was sore.


 R is a difficult sound for many people and it can become even harder to pronounce when it is next to another consonant soundWhen it is with another consonant, it is called an “r-blend” because the two sounds blend togetherCommon Problems: Using an L, so "present" sounds like "pleasant.Not pronouncing the R so “present” sounds like “peasant” and “girl” sounds like “gull”

Common Spellings: PR as in “practice,” BR as in “bring,” CR as in “crime,”  GR as in “grass,” TR as in “try”

present    a birthday present    hard     a hard surface      

fresh             fresh fruit                  warm       some warm weather         

crowd            three’s a crowd       work         work long hours    

Three race car drivers survived the wreck. 

Turn right at the corner of Warner and First Street.


L-R Blends

an L / R blend is a consonant + L or R

bled    bread      fire  file      cram    clam      brink    blink      supplies    surprise

clown    crown      grade    glade      boulder   border      green   glean      bland    brand

play   pray      fresh   flesh      blade   braid      tile   tire      bloom     broom

blush    brush      gloom   groom       plop  prop      blue   brew


1. Laura and Larry rarely lull their rural roosters to sleep.
2. Sri Lankans are really leery of Landry's rules.
3. Climbing crimes are lures for crowded clowns.
4. There are free fleas for all the loyal royalty.
5. It's the right light with the glimmer in the mirror.
6. Collecting the corrections is the role of the elderly.
7. Are Roland and Sally rallying here in the lobby?
8. Jerry's berry jelly really rankled his roiling belly.
9. Yellow arrows frilled with reefed leaves are rarely light.
10. A leaky rear latch on the listing bark lifted right up and the water rushed in.

The groom felt much gloom as he walked into the room.
Don’t buy that brand because it is too bland.
The teacher will collect the papers so she can correct them.
The clown wears a gold crown.
There was fire in the office, so the file is gone.