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Voiced alveolar approximant

From Teflpedia

The voiced alveolar approximant is a consonant sound; an alveolar approximate that’s also a voiced consonant.

In a narrow notation the correct IPA phonetic symbol for /r/ is [ɹ]. For simplicity in a broad notation /r/ is used in most dictionaries.

Common words[edit | edit source]

Initial pronunciation of /r/

  • read - really - report - result - rhyme - right - room - run - write - wrong

Final pronunciation of /r/. /r/ is always preceded by one of seven vowels.

/aɪə/: fire
/aʊə/: sour

Mid-word pronunciation of /r/:

around - break - carry - different - ferry - mirror - parent - worry
  • In the following examples /r/ is silent in Received Pronunciation
arm - careful - force - forget - large - order - perform - verb - word
  • These are probably the only words where /r/ is not spelled "r":
"l" as /r/: colonel /ˈkɜːrnəl/
French "oe" as /ɜːr/: hors d'oeuvre /ɔr ˈdɜːrv/
metathesis: comfortable /ˈkʌmftəbəl, ˈkʌmfərtəbəl, ˈkʌmftərbəlAmE/

Phonotactics[edit | edit source]

The sound /r/ has several restrictions about what vowels it can follow.

In the following table # means the end of the word, C is any consonant and V is any vowel.

Vowel Vr#, VrC VrV Mergers and splits
/æ/ No Yes: arid, carry AmE: Mary-marry-merry merger
/ɑː/ Yes: car, start Derived words: starring, starry
Loan words: sari
AmE: "orr": borrow, sorrow, sorry, tomorrow
/e/ No Yes: cherish, cherry AmE: Mary-marry-merry merger
/eə/ Yes: square, scarce Yes: hilarious, hairy AmE: Mary-marry-merry merger
/eɪ/ No; /eə/ (as in prayer) and /eɪə/ (as in player) are valid Compound words: payroll N/A
/ɪ/ No Yes: spirit, mirror AmE: Mirror-nearer
/ɪə/ Yes: near, weird Yes: period, appearance AmE: Mirror-nearer
/iː/ No; /ɪə/ (as in beer) and /iːə/ (as in freer) are valid Compound words: free-range N/A
/ɒ/ No Yes: forest, torrid, sorry AmE /ɑː/: sorry /ɔː/ forest, torrid
Canadian English: /ɔː/ forest, torrid, sorry
[oə] Currently /ɔː/. Yes: score, door, force Yes: glory, scoring In most dialects [oə] is now /ɔː/ (north-force merge)
/ɔː/ Yes: for, north Only abhorring North-force merge
/əʊ/ No; /ɔː/ (as in score) and /əʊər/ (as in goer) are valid Compound words: low-range N/A
/ʊ/ No Loan words: guru, Jurassic AmE: /ʊ-ʊə/, AmE: /ʊ-ʊə-ɜː/
/ʊə/ Yes: cure, cured Yes: assurance, plural AmE: /ʊ-ʊə/, AmE: /ʊ-ʊə-ɜː/
BrE: cure-force (valid for assurance but not for plural)
/uː/ No; /ʊə/ (as in cure) and /uːə/ (as in doer) are valid Compound words: Blu-ray N/A
/ʌ/ No Yes: hurry, worry AmE: hurry-furry
/ɜː/ Yes: fur, stir, verb, nurse Derived words: furry, stirring AmE: hurry-furry

Anticipated pronunciation difficulties depending on L1[edit | edit source]

Preconceived ideas and other interferences from L1 obviously interfere in many cases with how students perceive - and pronounce - sounds/words in English. The following section aims to point out some of the most typical difficulties teachers and students may encounter regarding pronunciation.

Arabic speakers often find this phoneme difficult to pronounce, especially when used with other consonants, e.g. bridge [/brɪʤ/].