The American “r”

Visits to this  blog have come from 69 countries, from Azerbijian to Zambia, so I’m writing today a little word of compassion for those of you who have tried to master the American “r,” as my three-year-old granddaughter is trying to do.  It is the last hurdle before her complete mastery of American consonants.

Today she said, “Huwwwy, huwwy, I’m widing my bike up the wamp.”  Or, “Hurry, hurry, I’m riding my bike up the ramp.”  This mouthful of consonant, in which the mouth closes down, the tongue closes off, and the the sound is swallowed, is also the last hurdle for people learning American English, or those of you who make us laugh by imitating us.

My sympathies.  Please think of me as I try to make the South African click, the French “r,” the Arabic gutturals, and all those exotic phonetic birds which fly in our linguistic universe.

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