5. Letter R

bar

In spanish there are two different pronunciations for letter "r", one is similar to the english one, like in the word car, and the other is stronger and more complicate to learn. We will study both of them in the following examples. To know better which is the correct pronunciation we will use (r) for the soft and (R) for the strong.

It can appear with simple or double "r".

Double "r"

Every time you see "rr" you have to use the strong pronunciation. See the examples.

Sound
Ejemplo
Example
(R)
el perro, el error
the dog, the error
(R)
la guerra, correr
the war, to run

Simple "r"

The general rule says that we pronounce soft "r" but there are exceptions that we will see later.

Sound
Ejemplo
Example
(r)
la pera, la barba
the pear, the beard
(r)
comer, beber
to eat, to drink

Exceptions: Letter "r" is pronounced stronger in these cases.

  • If the word starts with "r" always is pronounced with (R).

  • When the consonants "l", "n", "s" or the prefix "sub" are followed by "r".

Sound
Ejemplo
Example
(R)
el ratón, la rata
the mouse, the rat
(R)
Israel, alrededor
Israel, around
(R)
la honradez, subrayar
the honesty, to underline

to speak = hablar

psychologist = psicólogo