How to pronounce the “R” in European Portuguese

The 2 (or even 3!) sounds of the letter R in European Portuguese are likely the most challenging ones to master. Let’s see if I can help. 🙂

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    1. Sanjay, just relax, because the pace of speaking in Portugal is slower than the speech of South India. When I watch south Indian movies, sometimes I need to rewind just to keep up. And this is a teacher, not a stand up comedian.

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      At the moment the content covers material from level A1 to B2 as well as grammar elements from C1. But more content will be added as time goes by.

      However the best way to know what this program is about and if it’s the right fit for you is to sign up for it as you can enjoy a FREE trial. No payment is made until the first 7 day period has ended.

      Bom fim de semana!

    2. @haily newma click on one of the pricing options to see what’s available. For any further questions regarding The Journey please use the chat button on the pricing page. Thanks 👍🏽

  2. Mil obrigados por ensinares ambos os “hard Rs”. Eu sou português e sempre fiz o R “espanhol”/”russo”, tal como toda a gente na zona onde eu morava. Entretanto já conheci espanhóis e russos que aprenderam português e foram ensinados a pronunciar o “R” tipo francês, sem qualquer menção ao facto de poderem usar a forma que já dominam da sua língua nativa. Eu até ainda me lembro desse R estar bastante presente na televisão no final de anos 80, princípio de 90 quando eu era criança. Entretanto praticamente desapareceu dos media… valha-nos ter um Presidente da República que os pronuncie assim, para se ir ouvindo com alguma frequência.

  3. Muito obrigada! If I speak French is the sound of double RR similar to the French one? Can I produce the same sound or it should be changed? 🙂

    1. Olá Marlena! I don’t really speak french but based on my limited exposure to it, I’d say the Portuguese double R is the same as the french one, yes 🙂

  4. It looks like time well spent. 👍The preview looks AWESOME! Love love love your teaching methodology/STYLE.❤️❤️❤️ Can’t wait to join. Thank you very much Carla! Muito obrigada!

  5. Estou mais familiarizado com o português brasileiro do que com o português europeu! mas você faz um bom trabalho. Acho o português europeu e o português brasileiro semelhantes em alguns aspectos do que em outros! estive em PORTUGAL para o Afro Nation 2019, todos entenderam o meu português do Brasil sem preocupações ..

  6. Thanks Carla. It came fast for me. Except the words “rir” e “correr”. Been with you since last year!! Muito obrigado!!!

    1. @Portuguese With Carla Carla there is an important R word that you left out. How is the Portuguese word : Rei pronounced(English : King) ?

    2. ​@King James Chances are you might have figured this out already, but “Rei” rhymes with the English word “hey” but with a guttural or rolled R (in some parts of Brazil they pronounce it exactly like the word “hey”)

  7. Thank you so much Carla. I have spent so much time (amusing my family) in trying to roll my rr’s and your technique has definitely helped! I was ready to give up but you have given me hope! Muito obrigado!

  8. In reality the traditional “r” that is used in most of Portugal is the rolled “r”. That gutural R is a Lisbon and Southern Portuguese inovation…

  9. I have a stupid question, but: what has to be your native language to need that much of an explanation to articulate an R?

    1. @Shaun McKenzie like the german too. We do not have nasal vowels, nor the “French J”, but after you heard it once or twice you just make it – it’s not one if those unfamiliar click sound of koi san languages.

    2. @Heiko Obermeit not everyone has the same native language as you, and not everyone is good with languages. There are also people not familiar with european languages watching these videos. Most Germans can’t even pronounce the English TH sound properly, for example. What’s their excuse?

    3. @Shaun McKenzie ether english is a language that needs special education in pronuncing R bebause it is not part of this language, or people not familiar with european languages…
      NO germen under the age of 60 has problems with the 2 sounds of th in english.
      The standart excuse for all people not able to pronunce socalled hard to pronunce sounds wrong is lazyness

  10. Discordo totalmente que o R gutural, “à francesa”, seja o R português. É, isso sim, *um* dos R’s portugueses.
    Sou 100% português e esse R francês não é o meu R, nem o da maioria das pessoas que habitam na minha região (Trás-os-Montes). O meu R é o R “rolado”, a que os anglófonos chama “trill”.
    Curiosamente, uma excepção na minha família é precisamente o meu pai, que pronuncia o R à francesa — razão pela qual, na infância, era gozado pelos colegas de escola, pois todos os outros pronunciavam o R rolado.

  11. A great thank you from Hong Kong! Your suggestions are great help for me 🙂 Finally find a way to practice R lol

  12. Algumas pessoas Inglêsas acham o som the R ao princípio soa como H???????? Nunca entendi isso mas parece ser um começo para eles!

    1. O H inglês não é sempre pronunciado da mesma maneira, tem diferentes pronúncias, ainda mais em zonas diferentes do país. Existe a forma do H inglês que se aproxima do “R” português 🙂

  13. To be honest I really love both pronunciations of the R. The standard and the one in the North. I can’t seem to decide which one to use because they’re both so beautiful T^T

    1. Do the one one that feels most comfortable to you or if you have Portuguese relatives and/or friends maybe do the one most of them do, I would say. 🙂

  14. Very clear teaching. For the 1st time I’ve leart the difference in pronouncing R between spanish and portuguese, though I can do the both languages. Muito obrigado!

  15. Hi, nice video, but I’d just like to drop a slight remark: I’m from Porto and my r goes as your first r, not the second (it would have been easier to say we pronounce that r like the French). In most of the country (and that’s mostly south, not north) you get that rolled r. Believe me when I say I find that almost impossible. So north, south, south, north, it isn’t like that. But ok, I’m quite sure about the south, but I’ll pay closer attention the next time I visit, say, Minho or Trás-os-Montes.

  16. HOW DOES THIS VIDEO HAVE FEWER THAN 8000 VIEWS? In 54 years I’ve never been able to roll an R. (RR) It took me all of about 40 seconds to get my first roll! Brilliant, patient, effective teaching! Brilliant! Thank you!

    1. So pleased to know it worked so quickly for you!! Thank you for letting us know 🤗

  17. OMGGGG this hurts my throat so bad how do português people even talk on a regular basis waaaaaaah I wanna cry so bad it hurts!!!!

  18. Is this R sound similar to the R in brazilian portuguese? Acho que sim neh?
    Pelo menos quando digo os nomes Rosa ou Rodrigo they sound like R, kind of like J

    1. They can be, yes, as in Portugal we pronounce it the 2 ways mentioned in the video, but occasionally it can be pronounced in a softer way as the Brazilians do, or how the Spanish speakers pronounce their “j”.

  19. Carla, adorei ver-te aqui no Pinhal Novo, um beijinho meu à mãe, pode ser que ela se lembre de mim, e outro para ti !

  20. It sounds a bit like the Welsh ‘ch’ to me. I might be a bit off with that though, not being fluent in either language.

  21. This has been the most helpful video for me! Unfortunately, I still can’t produce the sound all that well. Being able to make even one of these will require lots of practice, but I’ll make sure to keep following these helpful tips. Obrigada!

  22. You are the best!!! I got to do my “rr” which is really helpful for learning german as well

  23. It’s the same R as French and German, but even stronger in Portuguese. Very difficult for English speakers. The rr in Brazil that sounds like an English ‘H’ is easiest one for us. Will keep trying. Great video at the end too.

  24. Com tão poucos canais que ensinem português europeu tenho mais é que dar os parabéns. Conteúdo rico e transmitido com pleno domínio.

  25. I so enjoy your videos and podcasts. Thankfully I had to learn French at a very young age in Canada, so the R sound isn’t too difficult 😀

  26. Well … I’ve recently listened to fado over and over – Amalia Rodrigues and Carlos do Carmo: simplesmente adorei, totalmente fixe !
    However: both Amalia and Carlos *clearly* sing words with rr as Spanish R in perro, carro, cerrar, tierra, barrio etc. Very strong and distinct rolled R in: bairro alto, mulher da rua, terra prometida. Not even close to the sound of RR described here – actually, just the opposite.
    Hence, my question is: why do they pronounce it counter to what the taught pronunciation is supposed to be? What am I missing here?

    1. Olá, Lubomir. I did describe 3 different R’s in the video…

      Amália seems to actually use both the “French” and the “Spanish” R. For instance, listen to this fado and pay close attention to when she sings “TERRAS de Espanha”…

      Even though both hard R’s are used in Portugal this seems to be a bit of a controversial topic amongst the natives – just check some of the comments in this section…

    2. @Portuguese With Carla Thanks for the link – absolutely beautiful fado! Yeah – TERRAS de Espanha sounds certainly *quite different* than TERRA prometida in her Cheira a Lisboa. Hmm. Let’s leave this at your statement “this seems to be a bit of a controversial topic amongst the natives” – as that’s how I see it, too 🙂.

    1. @Portuguese With Carla Thanks to you 🤗❤
      I’ve recommended your channel to my English speaking neighbors. We live in a tiny village here in Portugal 🙂

    2. @Tomoyo Uchiha 🤗 thanks! I’m happy our content is helping you, so much so you’re sharing it with others! Thanks again 😊

  27. With some practice, I actually make that sound! But when I actually started trying to say the words, they just turned into like how you’d pronounce an “h” sound in English. I hope I get it soon! Thank you!

    1. Well done for your perseverance and as a result making it happen 😊 tbh we don’t always stress the initial/double R too much and so often times it comes out like an English “h” in some parts of England. So it seems you’re on the right track! 👌🏽

  28. a lot of people consider the portuguese “hard” R a voiced consonants, but living in Portugal I often hear it as unvoiced. also Carla is doing it as unvoiced, am I right?

  29. I would rather pretend that I am from the North of Portugal haha
    For Russians it’s very easy to pronounce it that way

  30. I find myself learning Brazilian Portuguese (being a Mexican Spanish speaker) and out of curiosity wanted to discover new ways to teach to pronunce the portuguese RR (or at least grasp it differently) which in Spanish is done in a diff way but the soft R is quite common. Before this I used to think about the idea of first drinking in one gulp a milk carton (leaving your mouth/throat highly concentrated with unpleasant mucus, lol) and then try to pronunce portuguese RR words afterwards… yeah, not exactly glamorous nor healhty, but hey, that friggin pronunciation came like being born and raise in BR…

    … just kidding, gargling does it for me too. The whole milk story is just an unpleasant anecdote 🤣. You’re great at teaching, keep it up!

  31. WOW, as a Swedish person I just had an argument with my Portuguese friend and I didn’t understand what the hell he was talking about when he said he could “Hear the R’s” in a clip.
    I was about to lose my mind until I looked up this video and now it makes sense, what a cool and unique way to say “R” and “RR”.

    1. Glad you found this video helpful 🤗 Hopefully now you won’t be having anymore arguments with your Portuguese friends over the Portuguese R’s 😄

  32. The first R sounds like what English speakers say when they try to pronounce the French R and overshoot it.

  33. Eu falo o R à antiga. Sempre falei. Na comunicação social desapareceu mas merece menção porque nem todos falam como em Lisboa.

  34. Thank you very much Carla and your team. Your video presentations are very comprehensive and easy to follow and understand. You have helped me to improve the rolling of RRs 😌which I have had difficulty with for many years. I will continue to view your video presentations and improve my use of the Portuguese language. Well done!

    1. It’s so lovely to read your comment and to learn that you continue to improve your Portuguese pronunciation even though you’ve been learning it for years – I really think that’s a very exemplary attitude 🤗 keep up the good work!

  35. What a terrific teacher! She’s the first instructor that has made me want to learn how to speak Portuguese. I’m no linguist, but I find it a difficult language to learn since intuitively it seems to borrow from Spanish, French, and Italian in different ways. Yet, this mixture helps to explain why it’s such a beautiful language, especially when set to music.

  36. this is very helpful, but im just wondering if there’s a reason the ending R’s sound like they have a “sh” sound? 8:27 is when i start to hear it the most in the examples

    1. I’m glad you found the info on this video helpful 😊
      There’s no actual “sh” sound when we pronounce the ending R’s. What you might have heard was possibly just air coming out of my mouth as I said those words – when you pronounce the soft “r” in Portuguese you bring the tip of your tongue nearer to the alveolar bridge (rough part of the top of you mouth) and at the same time you blow out air, so the top of you tongue vibrates as it goes again the air. Hope this makes sense 😅

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