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The sound of the Polish 'R'


learning 16 | 72  
18 Jan 2008 /  #1
How do I make that sound?!?!

I try naturally, but it won't come out. It sound like I'm suffering from some disease. I can make the sound like machine gun, but it is far from being a natural sound.

Please help with any practices, or diagrams of what my mouth should look like, etc.

Dziękuję!
Polson 5 | 1,770  
18 Jan 2008 /  #2
Can you do the Italian "R" ?...

There are people that can't do it, but i think with some practice, you should be able to do soon ;) Good luck :)

I don't really know how to help you...sorry, but if you have any questions, please ask ;)
OP learning 16 | 72  
18 Jan 2008 /  #3
No, in all languages, that 'R' is my weakness... I can get down most Latin accents, but not that 'R'. If I get the rolling R down, I will be able to roll it in all languages that need it. However, in Polish, I believe, there is no 'R' that isn't rolled(?), so I need to get it down.
Polson 5 | 1,770  
18 Jan 2008 /  #4
However, in Polish, I believe, there is no 'R' that isn't rolled(?), so I need to get it down

I guess not...but even with a French or German "R" (not rolled), people would understand you well...i guess... ;)
Bondi 4 | 142  
18 Jan 2008 /  #5
...and you won't be able to swear! ;o) (k*rwa)
osiol 55 | 3,922  
18 Jan 2008 /  #6
I've heard quite a few people attempting the rolled 'r' and failing. I'm not sure how it is that some people seem to be unable to produce this sound. Some attempts have caused injury through excessive laughter.

Have you tried sitting somewhere no-one can hear you and just experimenting with the variety of different vocal sounds you can produce? It sounds like a strange idea, but it is one of the techniques I employed whilst attempting to learn Mongolian throat-singing (a kind of oral resonance singing - PM me if you're interested).

The tongue should be level at the back and curled upwards towards the tip which will be pointing to somewhere between the front teeth and the apex of the oral chamber. (Like my pseudo-technical term there?)

Hold this position, then try. If this doesn't work, try lowering your bottom jaw slightly, perhaps a few other adjustments, vocalising all the while. Make sure you're not restricting the air-flow further back in your mouth.

If you still can't manage it, at least anyone overhearing you will have had a good laugh, particularly if they are a speaker of Polish, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Icelandic, Scots English, Arabic, blah blah blah.
OP learning 16 | 72  
18 Jan 2008 /  #7
Sometimes, when I practice (trying to say the spanish 'RR') like "eh rer reh' and sometimes, when the rolling sound does come out, it sounds unnatural like a machine gun, a broken one at that.

Also, the only time that the sound does come out, is when my teeth are ALMOST clenched but not touching. Is that the wrong technique?
osiol 55 | 3,922  
18 Jan 2008 /  #8
my teeth are ALMOST clenched but not touching. Is that the wrong technique

The closer your teeth are together, the further back your tongue has to be.

Wouldn't it be so much easier if Polish had a bilabial trill instead.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bilabial_trill
OP learning 16 | 72  
18 Jan 2008 /  #9
It seems, that your technique of putting the tongue further back definitely works better for me. I can seem to make a roughly 'r' sound, although still unnatural, more easily.
paczka 1 | 63  
19 Jan 2008 /  #10
Well if you are really struggling, you can say L instead. If won't sound quite as good, but at least people will understand you. You will sound a bit like if you are burring, or whatever the correct term is...

How do you say Romania??? Cant you just pull he R out and use it?
osiol 55 | 3,922  
19 Jan 2008 /  #11
Well if you are really struggling

Well, if you ale leally stluggling.

Does anyone think I'm bulling?

How do you say Romania???

Lomania?
RJ_cdn - | 267  
19 Jan 2008 /  #12
paczka wrote:
How do you say Romania???

Lomania?

Well, some Polish people can't say "R"either, in their case it sounds more like "£" (like in was).
So Romania sounds like £omania (with a tiny bit of R sound to it)
osiol 55 | 3,922  
19 Jan 2008 /  #13
So Romania sounds like £omania

Intewesting. Can it be difficult for some people everywhere?

R is a strange letter - the way it varies from language to language.

There's the back of the mouth type R - French, Dutch, German, some varieties of Portuguese, possibly Danish (I'm not sure). Formerly it was even found in some dialects of Northeast England.

There's the good old rolled R like you find in Polish, other Slavic languages, various Southern European languages, Arabic and so on and so on.

Then there's the English R, although in much of Scotland and some parts of England it is rolled, and there is a growing number of people who pronounce the English R without the tongue curled back but with the top front teeth making contact with somewhere behind and below the bottom lip, often mistakenly referred to as a 'W' sound.

So if you can't roll it, try any of the above - it's better than nothing!
paczka 1 | 63  
20 Jan 2008 /  #14
Can it be difficult for some people everywhere?

As far as I know it depends on one's medical condition, so that some people physycally can't pronounce a certain letter of their native language.
OP learning 16 | 72  
21 Jan 2008 /  #15
Ok, I have been able to get the Polish 'R' down a little better. And about 'R'omania... I can make the R as I speak in English. I've never heard 'L'omania before, but... I guess there's always a first time.
polishgirltx  
21 Jan 2008 /  #16
The sound of the Polish 'R'

you guys be careful with practicing the Polish 'R'... last time i was trying to learn how to pronounce the English 'TH', i ended up on ER.... ..... ..... :P lol
osiol 55 | 3,922  
21 Jan 2008 /  #17
you guys be careful with practicing the Polish 'R'

rrrrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR-ouch!
xxx  
14 Feb 2008 /  #18
My tongue had to be treated with electricity so I can say that damn R... no joke
Yanchao - | 3  
16 Feb 2008 /  #19
When pronouncing the Polish "R", should tip of my tongue flap?

I follow the tips provided by Osio but I'm not sure if my pronunciation is correct.
When I pronounce the R, my uvular is flapping and the sound seems coming from the rear of my mouth, close to my throat. Sounds like German "R". My tongue seems not flapping.
Hiro - | 33  
16 Feb 2008 /  #20
I follow the tips provided by Osio but I'm not sure if my pronunciation is correct.

Record it and give us a sample. We will tell you if it's OK or not :)
Wulkan - | 3,243  
16 Feb 2008 /  #21
Please help with any practices, or diagrams of what my mouth should look like, etc.

there was one english girl who had the same problem and after 2 beers in a pub I put my tongue into her mouth and she just started doing it with my little help :)
osiol 55 | 3,922  
16 Feb 2008 /  #22
my uvular is flapping

Why?
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446  
20 Jul 2008 /  #23
Thread attached on merging:
Americans and the trilled Polish/Scottish 'r'

Many Americans claim they cannot pronou ce the trilled 'r' in the Polish word ryba, no matter how hard they try. In fact, they are saying it everyday without knowing it.

The way many Americans pronounce 'getting' is exactly as if it had been spelt 'gerying' in Polish.
osiol 55 | 3,922  
20 Jul 2008 /  #24
The way many Americans pronounce 'getting' is exactly as if it had been spelt 'gerying' in Polish

It can be quite close. I had noticed on a certain thread on this forum that the Polish r is frequenly mistaken, especially by Americans who have heard the occasional Polish word spoken by an older family member, as 't' but occasional as 'l'.

Scottish

I'd say that most Scottish dialects have a similar 'r' to Polish, some of England's dialects (especially West Midlands and parts of the north), maybe some forms of Northern Irish speak have it, and of course, Welsh. Welsh (or Cymraeg) has some of the best 'r' propnunciation in Britain.

I also wonder how well the Polish 'r' is pronounced by speakers of languages such as French, Dutch, German and so on, that have the uvular 'r'. Hearing Poles prouncing German words with a trilled 'r' just sounds terrible.
miranda  
20 Jul 2008 /  #25
The way many Americans pronounce 'getting' is exactly as if it had been spelt 'gerying' in Po

it is called a flap in linguistics in North American English.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
20 Jul 2008 /  #26
As a Scot who knows Polish, I'd say that I just need to accentuate the 'r' a little more to get the effect. For example, motor is more than us Scots trill our 'r'. It just depends on the word.
FISZ 24 | 2,116  
20 Jul 2008 /  #27
Many Americans claim they cannot pronou ce the trilled 'r' in the Polish word ryba, no matter how hard they try. In fact, they are saying it everyday without knowing it.
The way many Americans pronounce 'getting' is exactly as if it had been spelt 'gerying' in Polish.

Most Americans (if they've been anywhere) should know how to roll an r. Thres too miuch Spanish here to not know how to roll.
Arise_St_George 9 | 419  
20 Jul 2008 /  #28
Even I can do the rolled tongue! It's not really that hard... Unless your throat is dry...
osiol 55 | 3,922  
20 Jul 2008 /  #29
I find O easier to roll. It's a better shape for it.
Arise_St_George 9 | 419  
21 Jul 2008 /  #30
I've found the majority of non-English people struggle to pronounce the "th." They cannot pronounce the "th" when saying "thirty." Instead they pronounce it as "firty" or in Ireland's case "tirty." Many cannot pronounce "Ibiza" correctly.

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