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Articulate: ARRRRR

I live and work in Boston. Which means I live and work with non-rhocity. That is fancy-speech for under-pronounced or completely absent /r/ sounds in speaking. I’m not talking about the typical Southie accent either, I mean people who are otherwise conforming to a pretty broad American accent but you periodically completely ignore /r/.

I get it. The American /r/ sound can be problematic. It is formed with the tongue curved upward but not quite touching the alveolar ridge. It is an awkward placement for some and in many words, dropping it changes nothing in terms of intelligibility.

I suppose that it is the combination of non-rhocity and other common speech patterns that things get really interesting. Imagine wondering what it means to “mud” someone only to find that there is a much more serious “murder” involved to use an example from this morning.

So today, please, try a couple of tongue stretches curling the tongue as you use the tip to trace the top of the mouth. Repeat 3-5 times, then practice the following two sentences slowly with attention to the articulation of each sound:

“Restrictions reduced stress and strife” or “Revellers revel in leveling levels.”


Gina Razón is the Founder and CEO at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service verbal communication studio in Boston’s Back Bay.  She has over two decades of experience as a teacher of voice and speech, is a communication and change facilitator, and is a voraciously curious voice user.  Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker.  For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit

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