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This may be slightly off topic, but something that's intrigued me for some time is how Israeli (Hebrew) speakers pronounce the letter "r" when they speak English. It's not like the plain r sound of American or southern British English, or the trilling scottish r, or the other ways of pronouncing r found throughout Europe. It seems to involve the back of the tongue and the soft pallette. Is this a sound unique to Hebrew?
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Hi LeicesterLad,

You wrote:
This may be slightly off topic, but something that's intrigued me for some time is how Israeli (Hebrew) speakers pronounce the letter "r" when they speak English. It's not like the plain r sound of American or southern British English, or the trilling scottish r, or the other ways of pronouncing r found throughout Europe. It seems to involve the back of the tongue and the soft pallette. Is this a sound unique to Hebrew?
The Hebrew r-sound used to be an alveolar flap, just like in Spanish. However, as other European languages influence Hebrew pronunciations, the Hebrew r-sound is drifting towards an uvular sound, like in French. What I find interesting is that you claim that American and southern British English have a 'plain r-sound'. An American 'r' is quite different from the RP 'r', and to be more precise, there are three ways of pronouncing 'r' in RP.
By plain "r" sound, I meant "r" when it appears at the beginning of a word - such as "rush" or "ring" or when combined with another consonant(s) in the middle of a word, like "scrape" or"anthrax". To my non-professional ear, American English and southern British English use an identical sound here, even if the vowel sounds are somewhat different. I wasn't referring to RP, which - as many have pointed out (Nona especially!) - is an increasingly rare form of English, but rather, the English as spoken in the south east of the country. I take it one of the ways of pronouncing "r" in RP to which you refer is with a "trill" (ie, vibrating the tip of the tongue behind the upper teeth). Amongst southern English speakers, this is a sound I have only ever heard in pre 1960 movies!
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LeicesterLadI take it one of the ways of pronouncing "r" in RP to which you refer is with a "trill" (ie, vibrating the tip of the tongue behind the upper teeth). Amongst southern English speakers, this is a sound I have only ever heard in pre 1960 movies!
I could of course be mistaken, but isn't this the way Her Majesty the Queen pronounces her r's when followed by vowel-sounds?