I'm learning British English. The r is usually dropped, so I never noticed a little thing, most of the time when I use an r before the th sound, my tongue does a kind of a tap or something between r and th.

When I say brother or brethren, for example (just with voiced examples, but the unvoiced do the same.)

I really don't know what it is called or if it is normal. My tongue does a tap down on my mouth.

I really am worried about this, because when I use American accent, it will be almost impossible. Saying 'More than four thieves' will be like a great challenge.

I'm sure I'm doing the r and th pretty well, because on th I spent five months practicing and the r exists on my dialect: southern region of Brazil.

1 Answer 1


That clicking noise is coming from your tongue going to the back of the mouth when pronouncing the 'r' and then racing forward to the teeth to pronounce the 'th'.

Americans tend to have a longer first 'r' sound in words like brother so the tongue moves more slowly and doesn't make the clicking sound.

It's possible that it's more accentuated by forming the 'r' sound with a different tongue shape to have a native English speaker might use. Is the tip of your tongue flat or does it point up when you bring your tongue back while making the 'r' sound?

Note: Perhaps you should be wary of generalisations like 'The r is usually dropped', this is something that will only happen in some regional dialects and certainly isn't "Correct". You might end up saying bruva instead of brother.

  • Really, I perceived that I do this sound everytime when a consonant more front come after R. Even on my language, what happens is the tongue go to down mouth, behind lower teeth. It slides on my palate and goes to down mouth. I think is something normal. It never touches the palate. Thank you for advice of British, I will get more information about this ^^
    – Apprentice
    Aug 9, 2014 at 0:57

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