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Writing That Hard, Rolled 'R' Sound in Spanish

If you are learning Spanish, you know that the hard, rolled sound of the letter 'r' in Spanish is one of the most challenging sounds to master. In this lesson, we will review some of the rules you should keep in mind when writing that sound. Let's take a look.

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The 'R' Sound in Spanish

When it comes to pronunciation, there are two types of 'r' sounds in Spanish: the soft, simple 'r' sound and the hard, rolled 'r' sound. Let's listen to these two sounds in the following clip from our friend, Amaya:

 

Viajo con mi perro, como habéis visto antes. Pero además, lo que hago es que intento aprovechar

I travel with my dog, as you've seen before. But additionally, what I do is that I try to take advantage of

Captions 16-17, Amaya El Refugio del Burrito

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As you can see, the word perro (dog) is pronounced with the hard, rolled 'r' sound, while the word pero (but) is pronounced with the soft 'r' sound. In order to indicate the pronunciation of that rolled ‘r’ sound between two vowels, the ‘rr’ (double ‘r’) must be utilized. Let's look at some more words that follow this rule:

 

Tras la guerra con Napoleón,

After the war with Napoleon,

Caption 64, Marisa en Madrid Parque de El Retiro

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¿Ha venido en carro?

Have you come in a car?

Caption 64, Cleer y Lida Recepción de hotel

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Mi barrio no es muy grande,

My neighborhood is not very big,

Caption 2, El Aula Azul Mi Barrio

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Furthermore, it is important to note that words that begin with "r" also have this hard, rolled 'r' sound despite being written with the regular (not double) 'r.' Let's listen to some examples:

 

Encima del río hay un puente.

Over the river there's a bridge.

Caption 20, El Aula Azul Mi Barrio

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se oyó un ruido atronador

a thunderous noise was heard

Caption 43, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - El mito de Bochica

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Miren, hablando del Rey de Roma.

Look, speak of the devil [literally "the King of Rome"].

Caption 60, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 5 - Part 4

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When 'R' Becomes "RR"

An important rule of thumb is to double the regular ‘r’ to ‘rr’ in cases where an element ending in a vowel is combined with a word that begins with "r.” This occurs very often with words that are formed with prefixes. Let's look at an example:

 

como es la contrarreloj y trabajos de intensidad.

like the time trial and high intensity workouts.

Caption 20, Semilleros Escarabajos Capítulo 1 - Part 5

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In the example above, we have a word that is comprised of the prefix contra- (counter-) and the noun reloj (clock). As you can see, the prefix ends in a vowel, and the noun starts with 'r'. Since we want to keep the hard 'r' sound of the word reloj, we must double the 'r', and our new word must thus be written as contrarreloj (rather than contrareloj). In summary, in order to keep the hard 'r' sound between the two vowels, the 'r' must be doubled to 'rr.'

 

Let's take a look at some additional words that follow this rule:

 

Contrarreforma (Counter-Reformation): contra- + reforma

microrrelato (flash fiction): micro- + relato

pararrayos (lightning rod): para + rayos

 

That's all for today. We invite you to keep these rules in mind when writing that hard, rolled 'r' sound in Spanish. And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

 

 

Compliments in Spanish

When it comes to bringing good vibes and positive energy, there's nothing better than a nice compliment. In fact, we use compliments when we want to express respect, approval, or admiration for someone. With that being said, let's learn some easy ways to express compliments in Spanish.

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How do you say 'compliment' in Spanish?

First things first. There are various terms you can use for the word compliment in Spanish. The following are your options:

- Cumplido

- Elogio

- Halago

- Piropo

 

Keep in mind, however, that the word piropo is mostly used to indicate a short sentence that is concerned with the beauty of a woman:

 

En cambio vos no cambiaste nada;

On the other hand you haven't changed a bit;

estás más hermosa que nunca.

you're more beautiful than ever.

Caption 56, Yago - 11 Prisión

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Expressing congratulations before compliments in Spanish

Very often, compliments are preceded by some form of congratulations. Let's see that in action:

 

Los felicito, muchachos; eso está muy bien.

I congratulate you, kids; that's great.

Caption 36, Tu Voz Estéreo - Feliz Navidad

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Enhorabuena, Amaya... -Muchas gracias. -...por tu primera venta.

Congratulations, Amaya... -Thanks a lot. -...on your first sale.

Caption 77, Santuario para burros - Tienda solidaria

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Good job!

Do you know how to say 'good job' in Spanish? Let's see how to express one of the most common compliments:

 

Te felicito; buen trabajo, ¿eh?

I congratulate you; good job, huh?

Caption 49, Muñeca Brava - 47 Esperanzas

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Debo admitir que hiciste un excelente trabajo, realmente.

I must admit that you did an excellent job, really.

Caption 4, Muñeca Brava - 33 El partido

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Hello beautiful in Spanish

There are many ways to compliment a woman on her looks. Let's see some examples of compliments for women in Spanish:

 

Hola, guapa.

Hello, beautiful.

Caption 30, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 3

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Pasa. -Qué bonita que estás, ¿eh?

Come in. -How pretty you look, huh?

Caption 1, Yago - 12 Fianza

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Yo jamás dejaría plantada a una mujer tan guapa como esta.

I would never stand up a woman as beautiful as this one.

Caption 67, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capitulo 5

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Compliments with the verb gustar

The verb gustar (to like) is very useful when it comes to express compliments. Just like English, what you want to say is 'I like this of you':

 

Me gusta como sos. Me gusta tu pelo.

I like how you are. I like your hair.

Captions 80-81, Muñeca Brava - 7 El poema

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You can also use similar verbs to express compliments in Spanish:

 

Es que me encanta cómo hablas.

It's just that I love the way you speak.

Caption 49, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 2

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¡Hey! Adoro tu caminar

Hey! I adore your walking

Caption 34, Huecco - Dame Vida

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Encouraging in Spanish with compliments

There are lots of compliments you can use when you want to encourage someone. Teachers, for example, use these kinds of compliments often with their students:

 

Perfecto, chicos. Muy bien.

Perfect, guys. Very good.

Caption 57, Clase Aula Azul - El verbo parecer

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Qué + positive word

A very common way of expressing compliments in Spanish consists of using the word qué (what) followed by a positive word (most of the time an adjective):

 

¡Qué buen observador eres!

What a good observer you are!

Caption 30, Guillermina y Candelario - El Mar enamorado

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¡Pero qué lindo dibujito!

But what a nice little drawing!

¡Mateo, qué bien está dibujado, che!

Mateo, how well it's drawn, wow!

Captions 41-42, Yago - 4 El secreto

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Quiero que todo el mundo sea feliz y contento.

I want everyone to be happy and content.

¡Muy bien! Qué bonito, ¿mmm?

Very good! How nice, hmm?

Captions 34-35, Clase Aula Azul - Pedir deseos

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Indirect compliments

Sometimes, we can express compliments or flatter someone by saying good things about something that is connected to that person:

 

Ay, me encanta tu camiseta azul. Gracias.

Oh, I love your blue shirt. Thank you.

Captions 3-4, Español para principiantes - Los colores

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Si, si lo criaste vos, tiene que ser un buen pibe.

If, if you raised him, he must be a good kid.

Caption 33, Yago - 6 Mentiras

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And that's it for today. Try practicing some of these compliments in Spanish and don't forget to send us your questions and comments.

 

¡Hasta la próxima!

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