Sunday, 3 June 2012


Sorry, I'm not going to be writing about Eurovision for once! Instead, this post is about my goal for this long bank holiday weekend.

I'm going to spend some time with some internet resources I've found, and I am going to learn to properly roll my r's. Just like this man:

With the languages I'm learning, it's very important for me to be able to master this vital skill. It's one thing that's really held me back all my life when speaking foreign languages, from French to Serbian and now Norwegian.

Of course, all these languages have their own different sounds represented by the letter 'r', which are described in more technical terms that I don't really understand here. But when speaking another language, the fact is that using the English sounding 'r', where the top teeth meet the bottom lip, is a sure way to mark the speaker as a non-native, and is invariably recognisable as English.

That's why my goal now is to learn how to properly roll my r. I do have some approximation of it, which was taught to me by a friend in Serbia, and involves putting my tongue behind my top teeth and pulling it back. This isn't really enough though, as I can't maintain the sound, and I'm still not fully confident with it. Hopefully by putting my mind to the task this weekend, and really making an effort, I'll improve my speaking abilities and make myself more likely to be understood when using my languages abroad.

So, on Tuesday night, I'm going to record a video of myself speaking, and you'll be able to judge for yourself whether I've succeeded. It's a daunting prospect actually, showing my potential weakness to the world, but hopefully that'll help me to focus and overcome this barrier.

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