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Teaching Spanish pronunciation
Teaching Spanish pronunciation

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5 Rhotics (vibrantes)

Spanish has two rhotics; a simple voiced alveolar tap /ɾ/ (vibrante simple) and a voiced alveolar trill /r/ (vibrante múltiple), as in pero (but) and perro (dog). The tap is produced with a single swift contact of the tip of the tongue, while the trill is produced with several such quick contacts. The tap is similar to the Scottish pronunciation of in words like three or curd. Although pronouncing an alveolar approximant (English r) is a noticeable sign of a foreign accent, it is still worth explaining to your students that they should not worry about rolling their r’s as long as they don’t “swallow” them. 

In most British dialects, in syllable-final position is not pronounced: morningcar. This is an automatic process, so often English speakers are not aware of carrying this phonological rule over to Spanish and might pronounce amó (he loved) and amor (love)  in the same way. It requires a good deal of practice not to drop coda r’s.