Portuguese R

Som da letra R em Português. O Rio tem vistas maravilhosos.

What’s up, everything good? In our Dica do Dia today we are going to learn how to pronounce the Portuguese R. Pronouncing the letter R in Portuguese can be a little tricky. Depending on its position the pronunciation can change. Today you’re going to learn to pronounce it the right way. Check out all the different sounds of the R!

How to Pronounce the Portuguese R

Did you know that depending on the Brazilian regio a person is from, their pronunciation of the R can be different? That happens because we have different accents. As we are cariocas, from Rio de Janeiro, and we teach in Rio, we are going to teach you the carioca accent.

Examples with R at the beginning

example of r in the begining of the sentence in portuguese: a riolive! foi demais!

When the word starts with an R in Portuguese, the R has a sound that we make with our throat. We also make this sounds when there are two R’s. Listen here:

Rio de JaneiroRio de Janeiro
RatoRat
RádioRadio
ReiKing
RioRiver
RoupaClothes
RuaStreet

You’ve probably noticed that he makes a ‘Rá’-sound, like in Rato. Now on to the next example: the R between vowels.

Examples with R Between Vowels

example of r between vowels in portuguese: a areia da praia está muito limpa!

When the R is between vowels in Portuguese, the sound is made with your palate, not your throat. Put your tongue up to the roof of your mouth and make the tip of the tongue vibrate. Check it out:

CaraDude
VeraVera
MariaMary
AéreoAerial
MuroWall
AreiaSand
MorarTo live

Another example then: when the letter R is with consonants.

Examples with R Next to Consonants

example of r next to consonants in portuguese: o passeio no forte foi muito legal!

When the R is next to any consonant in Portuguese, the sound is the same as when it is the first letter of the word. Just like Rio de Janeiro. This sound occurs when the letter R is next to a consonant, not necessarily between consonants. It can be next to a consonant and a vowel, the important thing is having a consonant next to it.

CartaLetters
CargaLoad
PortaDoor
CurtoShort
CircoCircus
CertoCorrect
PertoNear

As we told you, the sound of the R can vary between other Brazilians or even cariocas, depending on the accent. So, one more example, is going to be when we have a double R, in the word. This never occurs at the beginning of the words, always in the middle or at the end. Thus, always the middle syllable or the final syllable.

Examples with RR

example of rr in portuguese: ele comprou uma caipirinha na barraca!

When we have double R the sound is the same as when the word begins with R. The sound that’s made in your throat, remember?

CachorroDog
CarroCar
MorroMountain
HorrorHorror
IrritarIrritate
EmpurrarPush
ArrastarDrag

So, we saw here, a word that starts with double R doesn’t exist. It is impossible in our language. One more example here, which is the final R.

Examples with R at the End

example of r in the end of the word in portuguese: o que você está esperando para vir jogar com a gente?

In the carioca accent when the word ends in R, the sound will be the same as the R above that we’ve just explained to you.

MarSea
LarHome
LugarPlace
AmorLove
CorColor
SaborFlavor
CalorHeat

Review your Pronunciation!

If you like video Dicas, check out more here. Our friend Moisés is going to help us here, check this out:

Brazilian Portuguese R in Accents

There are at least four types of R when we take into account the geographical variation. Let’s take a look at their differences:

  • The retroflex “R”, found in the Midwest region, south of Bahia and in some cities of São Paulo and Paraná. This is popularly known as R caipira, which is extremely elongated. The history of this R is interesting: Brazilian indigenous people had many problems pronouncing the Portuguese R, since this sound did not exist in their original languages. So, the mixture of the way of speaking the R of the Portuguese with the indigenous ones generated this reflexive R.
  • The tepe “R”, the one that has a certain vibration, which is found in Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, the capital of São Paulo and other cities in that state. This R is spoken more quickly and without much emphasis, contrasting with the other forms of pronunciation.
  • The “R” carioca, very peculiar to those born in the state of Rio de Janeiro. When the capital of Portugal was moved to Rio, the nobles brought that strong R, that somewhat reminds the French use of this letter. This was because at that time, the French aesthetics was very much into fashion.
  • The “R” guttural, which has a softer sound, found in Belo Horizonte and in the capitals of the North and Northeast. Guttural sounds are originally easily detected at the end of words. For example: comprar, fazer, comer, beber, sorrir, berrar e abrir.

Now let’s take a look at these differences with a nice video! This will show you different people from different cities speaking with the Rs we just learned:

Tips for Pronunciation for Portuguese R

In Brazil, it is common to combine a word ending in “R” with a word beginning with a vowel, forming a syllable between them. This linguistic phenomenon occurs consistently throughout the country. Check out the examples below and listen closely:

Eu vou arrumar a mochila da escola.
I will set my school backpack.

Ela vai reconhecer Amanda no meio da multidão?
Will she recognize Amanda in the middle of the crowd?

Exercise for the Portuguese R

Connect the words according to their correct pronunciation, comparing the words below. Here you have a list of 10 words with the Portuguese R. Then you have 5 examples with each type of R pronunciation. Connect the words with the examples.

1. Rato
2. Vera
3. Porta
4. Carro
5. Amor
6. Guaraná
7. Carioca
8. Energia
9. Viajar
10. Rodrigo

a. Certo
b. Areia
c. Amor
d. Rural
e. Morro

So, hopefully you’ll find our pronounciation tips for the R in Portuguese useful! That concludes today’s Dica. If you have more doubts subscribe at A Dica do Dia and learn about almost everything, we have lots of content! Or come to our school and talk to us!

Bye, bye!
Hugs from Rio & Learn!

Click on the links below to see more related Dicas
Vowels in Portuguese
The Alphabet in Portuguese
The Sounds of the Letter X
The Sounds of the Letter L

Answers

  1. (d)
  2. (b)
  3. (a)
  4. (e)
  5. (c)
  6. (b)
  7. (b)
  8. (a)
  9. (c)
  10. (d)

This post is also available in: English Português (Portuguese) Español (Spanish)

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