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Thread: Questions about “р”

  1. #1
    Ann
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    Questions about “р”

    1. Is it difficult for you to pronounce this letter? If so, how do you practice?

    2. On Youtube, I have heard some singers pronounce this letter really loud, and even drag it for like two seconds. Is that an expression of strong emotion? A regional accent?

    3. A folklore that has been passed along generations of Chinese students, mainly to ease their frustration, says that even Russians have to learn to pronounce this letter, and that a small number of Russians, including Lenin, never learned it. Is this true?

  2. #2
    Почтенный гражданин Demonic_Duck's Avatar
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    1. It's fairly easy. If you have trouble, start by saying «др» (or simply try saying "Dracula" with a rolled R), which many people find easier than saying «р» alone. Then try to separate it from the «д» (or "D") sound.
    2. My guess is that it's just for emphasis. In the past I've been criticised by Russians both for pronouncing the sound with too much emphasis, and for pronouncing it with too little. However, I don't think it's all that important - people will still understand you if you over- or under-emphasise it.
    3. I have heard the story about Lenin before from various sources (apparently Trotsky criticised him for it). As for children learning the sound, I think children of any nationality have to learn the sounds of their own language, and sometimes they have problems. My mum is a "speech and language therapist", and she mainly deals with native English children who have problems pronouncing certain sounds (e.g. "really" -> "weally", "yellow" -> "lellow", "sound" -> "thound"). So I wouldn't be surprised at all if Russian children sometimes have trouble with native sounds in Russian.
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  3. #3
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    1. Is it difficult for you to pronounce this letter?
    No.
    2. On Youtube I have heard some singers pronounce this letter really loud, ...
    I believe that they just articulate too much when on scene, i.e. they try to pronounce everything as clearly as possible. There's also so called scenic pronunciation, which is taught to TV hosts, artists, etc. - basically it's a very good and even exaggerated diction (in real life people mumble, slur their vowels etc., which does not sound good on screen).
    A folklore [...] says that even Russians have to learn to pronounce this letter, and that a small number of Russians, including Lenin, never learned it.
    Russians have to learn to pronounce ALL letters when they learn to speak, and some kids have problems with some sounds. But it's true that some people never learn to roll their R's. It's considered a defect of speech (along with lisping and stuttering). But it does not stand out too much or affect understanding in any way, and many people even think that it sounds cute, so I would not worry about it too much.

  4. #4
    Властелин
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    It is often a big problem for Russian children. I used to have very many problems with Russian pronunciation. I started pronouncing hard r at seven (soft - at six) and hard l at nine ( soft has never been a problem to me). So I understand you well.

  5. #5
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    I for one have NEVER met anyone over 3 years old who could not pronounce a proper R, but I see such people on TV relatively often. So it's probably impossible to judge how often it happens based on personal experience only, and I believe there's no statistical data on it either.
    Is it difficult for you to pronounce this letter? If so, how do you practice?
    Try to search on Youtube for "rolling R". There are a lot of tutorials and various videos for Spanish learners (Spanish and Russian R's are identical).

    This kid from Hong Kong learned to roll his R's in two months. Maybe you can ask his teacher for advice.


  6. #6
    Подающий надежды оратор Ammonite's Avatar
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    Rolling my r's is something I could never do. Now I'm learning Russian, I feel I really need to. At first I had a very week sort of rolling sound. Now I can sort of roll the sound, but it takes a little work to do it and I have trouble rolling it if its at the end of the word. Sometimes when I roll it, it sounds weak. Other times I accidentally roll it really well and it sounds great, but then I don't know how I did it and I'm back to awkwardly trying to force it.

    I think I'll get there soon. I also just say "др" to try and roll it. Works after a while.

    Correction of my posts in Russian appreciated.

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