I've always had difficulty pronouncing the letter /r/. Whenever i try to say /r/ it comes out as a gha, a sound similar to the arabic letter غ. Any idea how i can fix this?

  • Hi tzii! Welcome to English Language and Usage Stack Exchange. Somewhat confusingly, there are two Stack Exchange sites that deal with English: this one, and the English Language Learners Stack Exchange. I think your question might get better answers on the English Language Learners site. We'll see what others say. Here's a relevant question from that site, see if the answers there helps you: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/40593/… – sumelic Aug 19 '15 at 19:52
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    There are many different ways the letter r is pronounced in English. The r in red or in beer are often pronounced differently, and then there is the question of whether one's dialect is rhotic or not. – oerkelens Aug 19 '15 at 19:54
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    Well, for one thing, you're using the wrong end of your tongue, then. /r/ in English is pronounced mainly with the front of the tongue, not the back. Apart from that, there are quite a few different ways of pronouncing it, though most include raising the front of the tongue toward the palate, but without making contact. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 19 '15 at 19:55
  • English is my first language so i'm not sure if that's necessarily the site i want to go to but i'll check out your link regardless, thanks. – tzii Aug 19 '15 at 19:57
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    Just for clarification I'm British. English is my first language and arabic my second. None of my family or my friends pronounce it this way and I've never met anybody with the same "issue". Also i searched up uvular and that's exactly what my issue is. And as for meeting a speech therapist, I figured that was my best solution. Thanks for the help – tzii Aug 19 '15 at 20:07

I suggest you temporarily (or permanently, if things don't work out) replace the R with a different sound that you can comfortably produce, and which people will understand. Here are a few possibilities:

a Spanish R

a French or German R

an L

Just remember that people from all over the world can be understood pretty well, despite pronouncing the R in their own way.

-- Edit -- Experiment with a variety of foreign-sounding R sounds in your English, and see which one appeals to you most.

I'm not a speech therapist, but my guess is that a good word to try to get a real R in would be something like fur.

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    From what I understand, the OP is pretty much already using a French or German R; both of these sounds are uvular fricatives, approximants or trills, and Arabic "ghain" represents a uvular fricative or a velar fricative. I agree that it will probably be understood as an /r/ sound in English even though it's might not be a common pronunciation for native speakers. – sumelic Aug 21 '15 at 3:53

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