The famous "R" consonant !!

Discussion in 'Grammar & Pronunciation' started by Winter, Sep 24, 2004.

  1. doman

    doman Well-Known Member

    If you try to pronouce 3333 and 4444 all the time, the problem will be resolved. :) :) :) . I thought to pronounce Czech "r hacek" is easier than "r" in French... It sounds as Grrrrrr...
  2. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    During my Easter visit, I used the Spanish R followed by the French J (= Czech Z + hachek:  / ž), and it seemed to work fine. I tested it randomly with a short list of terms and names, and it seemed to work fine. So I think the Czech letter R + hacheck:  / ř is no longer a problem for me. :)
    Sorry, whether from MS-Word or Wordperfect, my Czech letters are not displayed in this forum. :shock:
  3. Matouš_Pilař

    Matouš_Pilař New Member

    I think someone that is a native czech should post a recording of "Pilař" spoken like fifty times so I can finally learn how to properly say my last name. I've wanted to learn to say it correctly since I was five but people keep giving me different answers, I just want to know whats right once and for all.
  4. Alexx

    Alexx Well-Known Member

    How many generations of your family live in the US?

    If you have Skype call "ales_g1984" and I'll tell you how it should be pronounced :)

    There was famous czech painter for children books - Radek Pilař (ř)
  5. Joss

    Joss Active Member

    Hello All

    In my experience Ř takes a bit of time to master for the english in the same way th presents a problem for some Czechs.

    This is long winded but step by step with practice it is the way I learned and I can do it without thinking now.

    1. Don't try too hard. Decribing it as having friction isn't right. That makes you tense and think of it as a harsh sound or something you have to force out. Its not a harsh sound. So relax!

    2. Keep your mouth still. You should not look like a bulldog chewing a wasp.

    3. I think the trick is to sneak up on it from behind and learn it sort of backwards because doing it forwards doesn't occur naturally in enlish and when you can hear it you will be able to do it.

    4.When we say the Zh sound in english we open our lips and push them forward. If you do this you won't be able to say Ř. Try opening your mouth just slightly and just touch your teeth together. This will stop you trying to use the front of your mouth leaving the right bits available for the job. Your lips don't move much at all.

    5. In this relaxed position say Zh as in Zaza Gabor a few times without moving your lips and keeping your teeth just together. Think about where your tongue is when you say this. You will find that is it is either back from your teeth or up. relax it to the front of your mouth and say it like you were drunk!

    6. Now do the same pronouncing a rolled Scottish R a few times you should find this more natural to do and you will relax a bit

    7. Now add the rolled R to the end of the drunken Zh, Zhr. Practice this trying to keep you mouth as relaxed as you can. Your tongue should stay forward.

    8. Try to keep it a bit breathy - as you say it.

    9. The sound after the Zh is as near as a beginner will get to Ř. The drunken Zh bit makes you keep your mouth position right for when you say the R bit

    10. Listen to the sound you are making and keep your mouth position saying the last R sound without the Zh infront.

    11. once you have done this for a bit practice putting a consonant infront until they are both distinct sounds.

    12. Now say an open e (ai not ee) after the Ř , Ře

    13. Say Dob Ře - Good!!!!

    Maybe this will help you it worked for me.

  6. Matouš_Pilař

    Matouš_Pilař New Member

    3, but only my father and myself were born in the U.S. My grandfather came over with his family. When he was growing up they spoke nothing but czech at home as his parents never really learned english. It's been so long that my grandfather doesn't really remember enough to help me out.
  7. Alexx

    Alexx Well-Known Member

    Hm, that's a pity. As I said, install Skype if you do not use it, and call me.

    Btw. "Matouš" can be dificult to say as well. How your friends call you? Matt(hew)?
  8. Matouš_Pilař

    Matouš_Pilař New Member

    I don't have Skype but I will look into it when I get home from work today. And most people call me Matt or Matthew.
  9. jen

    jen Well-Known Member

    I cannot trill my r's to save my life (at least not as an individual sound - an can roll r's in words), but I can pronounce ř, and pronounce it well.
  10. billy ray

    billy ray Member

    As a five generation native Texan, I pronounce several English words "incorrectly." Bush's NUCULAR is common among us. Business is pronounced 'BIDniss' and library is 'LIberry.' Texas is 'TEHKsis' and barbed wire is 'bob wahr.' It is somthing akin to seeking our own lingual distinctions. Ross Perot was great to listen to, as he did a good job of Texas butchery on English.

    I am enjoying going back and forth to that phonic pronounciation link. I assume my Merka family more likely called themselves something like Meerzhkah? I recall another family name of Hromek but would not dare to try and pronounce it in Czech!
  11. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    I have feeling that complaints of English natives about the pronunciation of the words of Latin origin are inappropriate at all, since you all mispronounce it as a matter of principle. :twisted:

    Watching “I, Claudius” I needed two parts to identify the English garble to be Seianus. :D

    Qui e nuce nuculeum esse volt, frangit nucem. [Plautus]
  12. billy ray

    billy ray Member

    It is not a conscious choice to slur the words library, business, etc. but a regional dialect. I know if I am speaking very carefully to a visitor who may have difficulty understanding, I can get the proper pronounciation out but when speaking in a normal, relaxed state, it is liberry, bidniss, and nucular.

    "Over there" becomes "ov'ahr".

    You should hear what is done to English in the southeastern USA.

    This Czech language, though, to get back on track is intriguing. I am excited about learning my grandparents' tongue even at my age.

    Even though born in Texas, my maternal grandmother did not speak English when she began first grade. She always had a pronounced accent that fascinated me.
  13. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    Hey! Billy Ray was that a slur about how we speak in the southeast? :lol:

    Anyway I'm a transplant so I don't have that southern drawl.

    I remember growing up we first started pronouncing library as 'libary' and nuclear as 'nucular'. It's the easiest way for kids to pronounce such words.

    And if regionally that is how the word is pronounced, well that's how someone is going to pronounce it.
    Trying to put down someone for their regional dialect is pretty unfair.
    It's got nothing to do with ignorance.
  14. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    Same here. Couldn't master the Spanish double r if my life depended on it. But my czech friends tell me they are very surprised with my ability to say ř. But I still struggle with ř at the beginning of a word such as řidit.
    I'm better with it in the middle such as představit nebo tři.
  15. billy ray

    billy ray Member


    Sorry bud. My paternal ancestors came to Texas from Alabama in in 1878 so I have some SE blood in me along with some Cherokee. You know how they do down there. I understand the proper way for a Crimson Tider to pronounc the Alabama is to hold the upper lip totally motionless.

    Ya'll come back now, y'heah?
  16. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    I moved to Texas at age 5, and while I don't remember ever saying the word "libary" in my life, I still catch myself saying "nu-cu-lar" (and I'm a physicist who does research in nuclear fusion :shock: :oops: :lol: ).
  17. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member

    I lived in Texas (Houston) for six years and while I never did pick up the habit of saying nucular, I did become fond of chicken fried steak and Bluebell ice cream. :lol:
  18. stepan

    stepan Well-Known Member

    I have spoken Czech all my life (and that is for MANY, MANY years). I learned the hacek "r" as a child and can still roll it now with the best of them, even though I speak Czech quite infrequently.

    I rememebr reading an article many years ago that a newborn child is able to learn ANY language perfectly up until the age of about 7 or 8. After that, the child looses the ability to speak unique sounds in a language, like the hacek "r" in Czech.

    So based on that, any adult who tries to learn Czech will not be able to master the hacek "r" sound. One must be able to flutter the tongue when saying that sound and since it is not a common thing in most languages to flutter the tongue, the ability to pronounce the hacek "r" sound is lost.
  19. Eleshar

    Eleshar Well-Known Member

    Well, you are mixing many things together. A child surely can learn language perfectly as a native speaker up to 7-8 years as you mentioned. But its universal hearing capacity is lost after 1-2 years (before that, the child can distinguish most subtle differencies of isolated (!) sounds). After that, this capacity is lost, but still in the proper environment the child can master the language and its pronunciation without problems.

    After 6 years, the child can still acquire the language but in this period it will be as if it acquired foreign language, not native language, which has considerable impact upon fluency, especially in early stages of language acquisition.

    After 15 years of age, the child is utterly incapable of acquiring linguistic structures sufficiently to use the language.

    But those are the linguistic aspects, nothing about the speech!
    Every single human being in every stage of its life has the capacity of producing every single speech sound of any language of the world (well, with the exception of those who lost their teeth and need to pronounce dentals, of course:)) after some time of excercise. It is only the matter of good description and practice. And after some time of practicing and perceiving the language, you are even able to distinguish the subtle differencies between phonemes that do not exist in your own language.
    The difference between you and a child is that the child is able of acquiring that capacity more or less spontaneously (given the proper linguistic environment) but you have be told the difference (or you have to have very skillful or experienced ear, e.g. as a professional phonetician), but still you can imitate it sufficiently.
  20. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    I have to agree. Children up to a certain age are just learning, after that, we are trying to change old patterns.
    But I suppose it is possible with the really gifted to totally master the sounds..

    I remember saying 'libary' when I was very young only because my mother would try to correct me. ''It's brary, brary''(I eventually got it)

    Budu potřebovat alespoň dvacet víc let, abych se češtinu naučil uplně.
    Is a good translation of this...
    I will need at least 20 more years to have learned czech completely?

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