I am trying to learn American R, I have a problem, which is the R becomes like "O" in the begging of the word like

Reall-> I say: "Oreally" with a very very very small "O".

So I tried to change my lips, and I found that there are two situation for the lips,

The first one is

enter image description here

and if you look from side, it looks like this: enter image description here

The second one is when you make your lips as you open them a little bit

enter image description here

I know probably neither of them is correct, but which one is more closer to the correct " American R"

  • 1
    You'll want to concentrate more on your tongue position, I think.
    – user230
    Nov 27 '14 at 20:19
  • I think it spends on which 'r' sound you're after. The initial R in red or the R in 'are'. The second can be made without moving your lips at all if you start out kind of slightly open-lipped like just normal breathing through your mouth. The first R can be formed using a lip shape akin to standard whistling and then,since that would be considered slightly exaggerated, relax the lips a bit but not so much that you lose the R sound.
    – Jim
    Nov 27 '14 at 20:47
  • For what it's worth, I'd recommend you to try to relax your lips completely when practicing your AmE /r/. Don't try to make it flat, or round, or form any shapes. (Don't forget to keep your lips alive, too. They are part of your face, and a face is not a mask. :-) Let your pronunciation flow naturally, work on your tongue to ensure that it sounds right, and your lips will form their own shape automatically. Have fun learning English! Nov 30 '14 at 10:48
  • When I say the word "really" at the beginning of a sentence, I find that I am very nearly saying "oReally" with the tiniest bit of an "o" possible, so you may be on the right track. Also, my wife thinks I'm insane after I said the phrase, "really fast" about a dozen times in a row to nobody in particular. The same word in the middle of a sentence doesn't have the initial sound because my mouth isn't adjusting from a fully relaxed state but instead from the end of the previous word. Jan 29 '15 at 4:59
  • @JasonPatterson that is a relief, thanks. I have been trying to pronounce the American "R" for like three months, and yet no success :( :( maybe because I don't have anyone to talk to in English, or maybe because i don't have an American friend, or probably because I am a very bad learner :X :X. Jan 29 '15 at 11:22

I think either of the images you posted look all right. I might say the bottom one is a bit more natural, simply because looking in the mirror, it isn't usually a very large movement of the lips for me. As others have mentioned, the tongue position is the most important to get right for an understandable "r" sound. You have a good ear, though: this lip rounding during an "r" sound at the start of a word, like the lip rounding during an "o" or a "w" sound, is a well-documented feature of many people's pronunciation of English.


I think you have to raise up ur tounge like the second picture you share, and stick it to the top of your mouth which I think called it In Englishe alveolar...I am not sure concerning the word I mentioned but try once and do ur very best... the best way for learning prounanciation is practise

  • 1
    There are lots of different tongue positions for AmE /r/, by the way. Different people make the sound in different ways. What's important is that you find a way that works for you and sounds right.
    – user230
    Nov 30 '14 at 7:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.