I can almost always pronounce the "r" or "th" sound alone, but when they are right next to each other, for example earth, throw, for the... I naturally make a short schwa sound in between and sometimes distort the r sound. The words "for the" or "over there" are the most problematic for me. Is there any way I can improve or practice this?

  • Notice that earth and throw are different tongue movements. Is one more difficult for you? When I say earth, I start with the "r" sound and I end up with my tongue slightly between my teeth. But when I say throw, my tongue starts between my teeth and ends in the middle of the mouth as I make the "r" sound – W.E. Mar 30 at 16:07
  • W.E. both words are about equally hard for me to pronounce, but I have more difficulties when connecting the r-colored vowels to the th as in "for the" or "over there". – Tilen Mar 30 at 17:08
  • The American rhotic R is linguistically one of the hardest sounds to produce in the world. It is why American children have the oldest average age worldwide at which they can accurately produce all of the sounds of their native language. What I'm saying is you may never get it right. Few foreigners do. Even Brits struggle immensely with it. Listen to actor Andrew Lincoln say the name of his character's son, Carl, on The Walking Dead sometime. Your only hope will not be on your own. You will need to take a class in or work with a tutor in American English elocution. – Benjamin Harman Mar 30 at 17:39
  • By the way, you think saying words that combine "th" and "r" are difficult, try saying words that combine "r" and "r" in an unstressed syllable (e.g. "error" or "clearer"). That's considered the very hardest pronunciation of all in American English. Harvard did a study introducing someone by the name of "Rory Rohrer" in conversation and then creating a casual circumstance where the person would repeat the name back. Harvard found that nearly a third of Americans mispronounced it, though many did hear it and would make an additional pass at it. – Benjamin Harman Mar 30 at 17:46
  • Benjamin Harman I've never really had any problems with the r sound alone and can say those words and even "Rory Rohrer" pretty well. I think thats because I've noticed that the r sound is different from my native r when I started learning the english language (about 8 years ago) and wanted to correct it ever since. About 4 months ago I really started learning about how to change my accent and was introduced to a few new sounds such as the "th". I am now mostly experiencing problems with connecting the old sounds to the new sounds and the "th" to "r" is the most noticable. – Tilen Mar 30 at 19:04

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