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I have read in Oxford dictionary that in British English you don't pronounce "r" at the end of a word or when a word ends in "re" , if the next word starts in a consonant. If the next word starts in a vowel, you pronounce "r"
His car was old. -> [ca:]
His car isn't old -> [car]

What about "here" in these phrases? Do we act in a similar way?

here you are [hie]
here is [hier]
when "here" is alone -> here/in here [hie]

Am I right? Could somebody explain it?

Thanks in advance!
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Comments  (Page 3) 
Your explanation is very clearly. Thank you very much for your summary.
I'm not an English teacher, but I was born and brought up in London. I haven't really thought about it before, but when I say these words it would appear to be the case.

The pronunciations you have stated, all seem to be correct. It may be an idea to watch The Queen's speech on Youtube - in order to confirm this.

Hope this helps Emotion: smile
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Yes, the cat.. couldn't think of anything else..

British people do pronounce it, they just don't normally pronounce it strongly. It varies and in some regional accents it is pronounced strongly. They usually pronounce it in a soft and gentle way.

It's understandable how Americans and other foreigners who are unfamiliar with the English kind of English can perceive the letter r as not being pronounced by British people, considering that American accents normally involve pronouncing it at least very strongly and usually, harshly. Any pronunciation that is less than very strong, is bound to be difficult for people with American accents to notice.

I think that the only way to improve your British pronunciation is listening to native speakers. American accent is much more influential but you still can speak with British accent if you watch a lot of movies and listen to British bands. For example, every time I listen to Plan B or The Streets I cannot but start picking the accent)) Here, check it out.

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LanguageLover Well, I'm not a native speaker, so it's better not to say anything about delicate pronunciation matters! However, as far as I know, even if "r" is at the end of the word, it can be pronunced as a weak sound. Hope it helps.
You're alluding to an important point that seems to be unnoticed by a lot of non-British people.

The r sound is pronounced in British pronunciation, just not strongly. It's a gentle, subtle sound. The confusion about it comes from English language learners hearing the American pronunciation of it, which is very strong. What they don't understand is that American pronunciation is very different from and almost always much louder and more heavily stressed, than British pronunciation.
Dear Dominik,

Just came across your question. I'd like to offer some help.
I am a dialect coach (someone who teaches people to speak with a different accent than their 'native accent') and author of a very popular e-course on the Standard British and American accents.

I'd like to post some excerpts from my e-book below, which may help. There's the 'silent r', the 'linking r' and there's even an 'inserted r':

The Silent /r/

In standard Southern British English, /r/ is not normally pronounced before a consonant or at the end of a word. Examples:

Fi(r)stca(r)hai(r)borde(r)mo(r)efou(r)

/r/ is not pronounced when it occurs in the following combinations:

/er/herrefernerd

/ir/ thirstfirstbird

/ur/ burnturnchurn

/or/ fordnorthform

/ear/ learnearnyearn

/ar/ barnyarnfarm

The Linking /r/

When a word ends with /r/ and the following word begins with an open sound (or a vowel sound), irrespective of the actual letter—the sound is what is important—/r/ is pronounced. (Note for actors: This is also correct in RP.)

To make the linking /r/ sound, add a small ‘R’ sound, but not too heavy.
Examples:

ever after (eveRafter)

mother and father (motheRand father)

her eyes (heReyes)

This is my car. The car is blue (…caRis blue)

One hour. After hours(afteR[h]ours) (the ‘h’ is silent)

The Intrusive /r/

So if a word ends in /a/ (pronounced as /a/ or / the schwa sound) or in /aw/ (the /oh/
sound) and the following word starts with any vowel or vowel sound, then an /r/ is added by the speaker, even though there is no /r/ in the spelling. (Note for actors: This is not done in RP.) Examples:

India and Pakistan (IndiaRand Pakistan)

Vodka and tonic (vodkaRand tonic)

Law and order (lawRand order)

You will find this phenomenon most often with the word ‘and’ if preceded by a word ending in one of the above-mentioned sounds. Other examples:

Has Leah ever been here? (LeahRever been)

I like the idea of visiting Japan (the ideaRof)

Please note, it is not absolutely necessary to add the intrusive /r/, but it is very common and is an authentic key sound of the Modern Standard British English accent.

Please contact me if you have ay other questions.

Michael Andrews
Dialect Coach and author

Thank you very much for the post. Unfortunately, I cannot help you as I am having trouble with the "r" too. May I ask BrE speakers who answered your post what happens with the "r" in the following words (in non-rhotic accents like RP): beware /bɪˈwɛə/, care /kɛə/, dare /dɛə/, there /ðɛə/, share /ʃɛə/, compare /kəmˈpɛə/, careful /ˈkɛəfʊl/, sphere /sfɪə/, figure /ˈfɪɡə/, and so on? In all of these cases the “r” is neither at the end of the word nor before consonant (rules that many BrE teachers teach for silent "r") – still, it is silent. Are there any rules that can be applied in these cases? What about: very, necessary, arbitrary, and so on - here the "r" is pronounced, but, even though in the middle of the word, there's no consonant before it (other rule BrE teachers teach for non-silent "r")? What's the rule here? What about the words: order, separate and the like? In "order", for example, the "r" is before a consonant - still, it is silent. On the other hand, in "separate" the "r" is in middle position, but there's no consonant before it - still, it is pronounced and therefore non-silent. What I am trying to learn is whether (or not) there are 2 separate rules for the “r”: one telling me when the “r” must be pronounced and one telling me when the “r” is silent. Am I missing something here? Thank you!

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Dear Michael,

Thank you very much for your reply. May I ask you what happens with the "r" in the following words (in non-rhotic accents like RP): beware /bɪˈwɛə/, care /kɛə/, dare /dɛə/, there /ðɛə/, share /ʃɛə/, compare /kəmˈpɛə/, careful /ˈkɛəfʊl/, sphere /sfɪə/, figure /ˈfɪɡə/, and so on? In all of these cases the “r” is neither at the end of the word nor before consonant (rules that many BrE teachers teach for silent "r") – still, it is silent. Are there any rules that can be applied in these cases? What about: very, necessary, arbitrary, and so on - here the "r" is pronounced, but, even though in the middle of the word, there's no consonant before it (other rule BrE teachers teach for non-silent "r")? What's the rule here? What about the words: order, separate and the like? In "order", for example, the "r" is before a consonant - still, it is silent. On the other hand, in "separate" the "r" is in middle position, but there's no consonant before it - still, it is pronounced and therefore non-silent. What I am trying to learn is whether (or not) there are 2 separate rules for the “r”: one telling me when the “r” must be pronounced and one telling me when the “r” is silent. Am I missing something here? Thank you!

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