[This is the English version of an earlier post in Spanish (in celebration of “Spanish Friday”).]
I’ve previously written about several aspects of the Spanish r sound: its pronunciation and linguistic identify, its origin, and the difficulties that some adults (and many kids) have pronouncing it. Today we’ll consider a dialectal variation, the r of Puerto Rico.
In parts of Puerto Rico, it’s common to hear a French-style, back-of-the tongue, unusually long r in place of the normal Spanish trill. Puerto Ricans see this pronunciation as a distinctive marker of island identity, and therefore a source of either shame or pride — or both. Author Magali García Ramis described this love/hate relationship in her essay “My Father’s R”. This was her inaugural lecture when she was inducted into the Academia Puertorriqueña de la Lengua Española in 2009, and is also the title essay of her 2011 book: