Portuguese R

14 de June de 2013

What’s up, are you ok? Today in our Dica do Dia 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 are going to learn how to pronounce it correctly. Check out what happens in each case.

How to Pronounce the Portuguese R

Did you know that depending on where a person is from, within Brazil, 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

When the word starts with an R the sound is the same as if we had two R’s, it’s a sound that comes from our throat. Listen here:

Rio de JaneiroRio de Janeiro

You can see that he speaks like ‘RΓ‘’, such as in Rio de Janeiro. So, I am going to show you the next example that we have: When the R is between vowels.

Examples with R Between Vowels

When the R is between vowels, the sound does not come from your throat, it comes from your palate. We have to put our tongue up in the roof of the mouth and make the tip of the tongue vibrate. Check it out:

MorarTo live

Well, one more example: when the letter R is with consonants.

Examples with R Next to Consonants

When the R is next to any consonant the sound is the same as when it is the first letter of the word. Just like Rio de Janeiro. This sound happens 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.


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. It never happens at the beginning of the words, it’s always in the middle or at the end. It’s always the middle syllable or the final syllable.

Examples with RR

When we have double R the sound is the same as when the word begins with R. That sound that comes from your throat, remember?


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

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.


If you like video Dicas, check out more here. Our friend MoisΓ©s 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 β€œR”, found in the Midwest region, south of Bahia and in some cities of SΓ£o Paulo and ParanΓ‘. 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 phoneme 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 β€œR”, the one that has a certain vibration, which is found in Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, the capital of SΓ£o 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 β€œR” 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 β€œR” 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:

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. GuaranΓ‘
7. Carioca
8. Energia
9. Viajar
10. Rodrigo

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

So, we introduced here some ideas of how to pronounce the R in Portuguese. That finishes one more of our Dicas. 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


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