Pronunciation / The [R] sound

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In your opinion, which consonant is the most pleasant to hear in French?
In your opinion, which consonant is the most awful to hear in French?
Have you ever noticed the /ʀ/ in French? How do you find the French /ʀ/ when you hear it? Exotic? Horrible? Normal? Quite pretty? Really beautiful? You don't know?
How do you find the French /ʀ/ when you pronounce it? Exotic? Horrible? Normal? Quite pretty? Really beautiful? You don't know?

Is the difference between:
les grands and
les glands
impossible, difficult, easy to hear?
les grands and
les glands
impossible, difficult, easy to pronounce?

Do you know that the /ʀ/ is the most pronounced consonant in French, having a frequency of almost 13%? So it's important to learn how to pronounce it now! How can you do it?

Pronouncing it is quite easy. First, you mustn't think about the "r" in your language. The English "r" is pronounced in the middle of your mouth; the Spanish "r" is pronounced at the very front of it, while the French /ʀ/ is quite close to the Arabic "Kh" (as in the singer Khaled's name), to the Spanish words "bajo" or "hago", to the final sound of Portuguese infinitives like "faltar", to German words like "machen", or to the "ch" in Loch Ness. You pronounce the French /ʀ/ in your throat, as if you wanted to pronounce /k/ or /g/ while breathing out air through the sides, with your tongue flat against your lower teeth.

Are you ready? Carefully pronounce /k/ or /g /. Do it several times. Feel where the /k/ sound is produced in your throat. Slowly tighten up your throat until you can feel the spot where the /k/ is articulated. Your throat is partially closed up. Keep your tongue flat against your lower teeth and gently breathe out through the remaining opening.
 
Now try to say
Ri - Ri - Ri - Ra - Ra - Ra for 30 seconds every day.

Tips
It's easier to pronounce the /ʀ/ if you stretch out the vowel preceding this /ʀ/. Don't forget to keep the tip of your tongue down until the /ʀ/ sound is finished.

Practise!
You can start imitating these examples:
at a slow pace,
then at a quick pace,
then shouting it,
and then whispering it.

Lastly, you can say the syllables in time with the example, as precisely as possible.

Exercices de mise en pratique

Pronunciation: the [R] sound

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