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I have seen celebrities, news readers, TV show anchors, judges sometimes bite lower lip, not like when pronounce letter "v" but in little subtle way. And mostly they shape lips like whistle and then pronounce "really".

Which way to pronounce the "r" is correct?

Does this also depend on locale/area?

marked as duplicate by Drew, Chenmunka, Mitch, Scott, NVZ Sep 25 '16 at 4:25

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  • Except at the outer edges, your lips don't touch when you say "really". (Well, maybe yours do, but not mine.) There is a vague similarity to a whistle configuration, but only vague. – Hot Licks Sep 17 '16 at 17:14
  • At which part of 'really' do you hear them do this? At the 'r' 'll' or 'y'? – Mitch Sep 17 '16 at 17:17
  • At "r", sometimes they bite and sometimes whistle. – paul Sep 17 '16 at 17:23
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    Possible duplicate of French speaker here — How to pronounce "r" and "l"? I wanted to link to How to pronounce the letter /r/, but that one has no accepted answer. – FumbleFingers Sep 17 '16 at 17:36
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    @paul Although your phrase "shape lips like whistle" says that you're describing its shape, BrianDonovan's query is valid in a question on pronunciation - especially for people reading the title at the questions page. His suggestion of a more accurate term, puckering, is helpful. It's not a matter of whether people are "dumb", as you put it (which is, by the way, somewhat offensive). It's a matter of conveying your intent more clearly and directly. – Lawrence Sep 17 '16 at 22:56

The rhotic phoneme /r/ is often pronounced [ɻʷ] at the start of a word both in North America and in Ireland. That [ɻʷ] is the symbol for the voiced retroflex approximant, with labialization.

That’s a special kind of “r” sound that includes lip-rounding or lip-curling. It’s the source of the original spelling of words beginning with wr- but these days that spelling no longer means that, making wring/ring, wrack/rack, wrap/rap, write/right/rite all homophone sets in nearly all dialects of English. Whether it is rounded or not depends on which region of the global anglosphere that the speaker comes from.

The labialization trait is what you’re perceiving as lip-rounding, and which presumably your first language does not have on its rhotics. Our rhotic approximants in English are notoriously difficult for learners to master, especially with the various nuances such the retroflex, labialized, and retroflex variants manifest here.

One thing you can be sure of is that if it’s being said by native speakers, they are all pronouncing it correctly for their dialect, even if these pronunciations vary by region.

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