Getting started with Spanish 2
Getting started with Spanish 2

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Getting started with Spanish 2

10 Sounds for the letter ‘r’

Listen to the following pairs of words, in which the only difference is the sound of the letter r.

Download this audio clip.Audio player: lxs002_wk2_act_aud004.mp3
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Listen for the difference in these pairs of words.
pero – perro; cero – cerro; caro – carro; coro – corro; curo – curro
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Note that the difference in sound depends on whether the word is spelled with a single r or a double rr.

  • pero but

  • perro dog

  • cero zero

  • cerro hill

  • caro expensive

  • carro cart

  • coro choir

  • corro I run

  • curo I cure

  • curro slang word for 'work'

In these pairs the difference in sound and spelling gives a different meaning. Although in general the context would help a listener understand what you mean, you should be aware of the difference and practise these sounds as you come across them.

Sounds for the letter ‘r’

The sound for r is produced by a single flap of the tongue against the roof of the mouth close to your gums, as in cero or pero.

The sound for double rr is produced in the same way, but by flapping the tongue several times, producing a stronger and longer sound as in cierra and cerrado.

When the letter r is at the beginning of a word it is pronounced with the strong sound of the double rr in the middle of a word; for example, rata, ratón.


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