How To Master The American ‘R’

american accent pronounce rhoticity Jul 25, 2022

Are you struggling to master those American r’s?

In today’s episode you’ll learn how to pronounce the American ‘r’ with rhoticity and authenticity in the American accent.


By the time you finish listening, you’ll know:

• Why some words ‘r’ words are harder to pronounce than others
• The different r’s you should be practicing

• The muscularity behind the American ‘r’
• My process for mastering the ‘r’ for your next audition

Ready to master the American accent?

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Katherine Beck 
You're listening to the All American actors Podcast, episode 72. In today's episode, get ready buckle up, because we are talking about how to master those American ours. That's coming up next. Ready to go behind the scenes and learn what it really takes to build a sustainable career as a working actor in the US film and TV industry. Join me Katherine Beck, your all American accent coach, as I give you the insight and inspiration to take action on your career, learn my best tips and tricks to performing with an American accent and hear from working actors and other industry professionals. To give you a comprehensive overview of this biz we call show them. This is the All American actors podcast. We will get into today's episode in just a moment. But first, I want to give a shout out to ne Jean who sent me this five star review and says Catherine has been so awesome. As a student of hers, I learned so much about stepping into my confidence and speaking my voice. Thank you so much. I love love, love this review. You know, it has been such a joy of mine to become a coach a voice coach and work with so many amazing actors and entrepreneurs and podcasters all sorts of people on finding their voice, having confidence with their voice, whether it's you know, performing on stage on screen in front of a microphone, or even if it's more speaking as yourself, you know that that public speaking aspect, which tends to be, you know, really confronting for a lot of us, right? When we need to speak as ourselves in front of an audience or an imaginary audience when nobody's there, like, for example, now a podcast and I'm talking to a microphone, but I'm imagining that I'm talking to you wonderful people out there listening. So thank you so much for this review, it really warms my heart. And hey, if you're out there and you are loving what you're hearing with this podcast, don't forget to head over to Apple podcasts, tap those five stars and leave me a review. And you might just hear your review being featured here on the podcast. Alright, let us dive into today's episode. And it's a good one. Because, you know, listen, I work with a lot of actors who are not born in the United States of America, but they want to perfect that American accent so they can book us roles. And a major part of mastering the American accent are those American R's. And raise your hand if I could see you, I would want to know, are you raising your hand right now? Do you find those American R's to be really hard, you might find that some are harder than others. For example, saying the word harder when you've got words that have two R's, or even three R's. Try this word, murderer, I tell you, I've got a lot of students who dislike saying that word. But unfortunately, you know what murder or murder just might come up in a script from time to time if you're, you know, in a crime movie, or a TV show that could potentially come up. So we got to know how to pronounce those American R's and tackle words that have more than one arm within it. So let's talk about those R's. What is your tongue tip doing now, when you want to produce a nice strong R sound in the American accent, you should feel that tip of your tongue, not just the tip, but the bridge. So the bridge is literally right after the tip of your tongue, the tip of the tip, you should know what that is, it's the very tip of your tongue and just directly behind is the bridge. And it's really that bridge, we're going to feel some sort of tension as you kind of like cup and curl that tip of the tongue. And when you do that, you can get that nice strong R sound. So for example, if I was gonna say, or, or I can feel that sensation, that sort of like tightness in the tongue tip, or if we go through the other dip songs as we call them with our coloring, we've got ear air, or, or, and our so for all of those I can feel that tongue tip curling and that's what you want. Now, if you don't feel at curling, you're gonna get a more subtle if not non existent, are so it might sound something like this. Instead of our, our, makes a really big difference. So there's that dexterity, there's that muscle strength, there's that activity in the tongue tip and if you are not used to that, chances are you're not because you weren't born in the US. Well then you got to strengthen that muscle. You got to strengthen the tongue and If you can kind of think of it like going to the gym, you know, it's the mouth gym, we want to exercise those muscles, strengthen them release any sort of tension that might be there so that we can be prepped and primed and ready to perform with your American accent. So those hours can be nice and strong. So what I recommend doing as well with those American Rs, you know, because every time we get an audition, to new information, new words, and a whole different context, you know, and new characters, well, new circumstances, new challenge. And so what I always recommend doing for my students is you want to set yourself up for success. Now, when you get an audition, there's so many different thoughts going around in your head, right, and you want to do a really good job. But we may not always be thinking clearly. So we've got to have a good plan set in motion, you know, process. So every time you audition, you've got a clear path of the things that you need to look out for when you've got an American accent audition. So with the RS, that's one of the main ones. And what I like to do, I'm going to give you some tips today on the podcast of what you can do to make your lives easier. Next time you get a US audition, go ahead, grab a highlighter and just highlight anywhere you see that are now you don't need to highlight the RS when they're at the start of the word because chances are, that's usually okay for you to pronounce that are at the beginning of the word, it's when r is in the middle or end of the word that's where it gets a little bit more challenging. So you want to highlight those R's in any word that you see in the script. And then what you want to do is on another sheet of paper, I want you to write down all of the words that contain that letter R. And you're going to practice those words with the RS outside of the script outside of your audition. So that you can really put your full attention on pronouncing those words correctly, thinking about the placement feeling it noticing it, hearing it seeing it so that when you go back to rehearsing the scene and then performing you don't have to think about it makes it so much easier, right very simple process, and you'll find is really helpful with those Rs. So I would definitely recommend doing that. And anytime you see in a sentence, a word that's got an r followed by another word that's got an r followed by another word that's got an R, write that all down together because you want to practice those two or three words together, so that you can start to get that muscularity within the mouth working together, you can start linking those words and find that flow and get it comfortable within the mouth. And lastly, let's talk about those words that have more than one arm, we were talking about that at the beginning of this episode, what you want to do is you want to make sure that you pronounce both Rs, or all the RS within that word, right. But one of those RS is going to have more emphasis than another. So for example, in the word harder are that first R has the strength because that's a stressed syllable within the word hard, harder. So you want to pronounce both ours but the first R gets the strength that when we hear more than the second. So we don't want to hear harder, because the stress does not lie in the urn. So you want to identify that and you want to just track and notice if you're skipping over maybe the first R to get to another R within the word. So for example, it might end up sounding like this hotter, hotter, because perhaps you're thinking about that second R and skipping over the first. So I would recommend really taking some time just in your day to day practice. Make a list of words that you find really tricky and have two Rs, even three R's in it and practice those and make it so much easier next time you get an audition. And it's great if you can have some sort of like a tongue twister or target sentence that you can use to practice those R's. I'm going to give you mine as a special gift today for listening to this episode. It is my favorite. I created it to be a very big challenge for my students, but to give you a great workout. And this is a great sentence that you could say every day is part of your daily practice. And it's this poor Claire fears her car's tired horsepower. I'll say it again. Poor Claire fears her car's tired horsepower. Now let's try and save fast. Let's see how fast you can say the sentence. Poor Claire fears her car's tired horsepower. Gosh, that's hard to say even I find that a struggle. But the key isn't really to say it fast. The key is to say it accurately. So what I want from you is to say it slowly and really focus on the placement and getting those R's nice and strong. Poor Claire fears. Her car's tired horsepower. It's a mouthful, but it's a great workout. And I guarantee it's going to help strengthen those ORs. So give it a try and let me know how you go. Make sure to tag me on Instagram, which is at Catherine underscore Beck underscore and let me know how you go. Alright, that is it for today's episode, and I just wanted to let you know that I've got a brand new free training. If you have not yet checked it out, it is called the four steps to mastering the American accent. It is fan tastic. And you can access it by heading over to Katherine forward slash training. I'll link that up in the show notes as well. And go ahead and check it out and let me know what you think of this very special training. All right, that is it from me this week. And don't forget to tune in next week, we are going to be talking about the American text analysis and how that differs to analyzing the text and character in your own natural accent. Now make sure to share the show with all your actor friends, let them know what's coming up next week and invite them to tune in with you and learn how to become the All American actor so you can be the Working Actor you dream to be until then go on get out there and practice your American accent. And I'll see you back here next time.