The Trouble with my "R"s

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Sympathetic Sybil is Write Out Loud's own Agony Aunt...

Dear Sympathetic Sybil,

When performing my poems or those of other people I find I have trouble with my Rs, and this makes me terribly self-conscious. I have found that I have been using fewer of them lately (or recently) out of fear that I will be always (or forever) known as the man who said "the stutterwing wifles wapid waffle".  Quite frankly, I sound more like Frank Muir, because I tend to swallow my Rs, if you can picture that image.

Should I avoid using words with R them?

Yours

Anon
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Dear Reader,

Let me first say that anyone who writes to me can be assured that their question will be treated confidentially and that their anonymity is assured. Further, all queries will be treated openly and frankly yet with discretion and empathy.

So, Robert Richardson of Rugrat Road, Rotherham, do not despair, help is at hand.

For instance, there’s the Jonathon Woss (did you see what I did there?) method of simply toughing it out. Wimp ye not! Stand proud and show your Rs off to everyone. OK, you may feel you can’t do this, so if you're not man enough here are a few things you can try.

Become a cunning linguist! Be aware of what your tongue, teeth, and lips are doing, and the shapes your mouth is making when you are making a sound. Once you know how to move your mouth etc to get a particular sound then you can start to control it. Remember you were once incontinent and you overcame that, well didn’t you Robert?

And, do an exercise trilling your tongue behind your upper teeth and then stretching that out in to an exaggerated r sound ..rrrrrround etc. Again the idea is just to get you to control what you’re doing, Tongue twisters are brilliant for getting the lips and tongue moving. Fast practice helps precision in your speaking and, as a serendipitous side effect, will do wonders for your sex life!

Finally, I am only an agony aunt not a voice coach or speech therapist and if my advice causes injury (e.g. tongue burns) then I take no responsibility.

Hope that’s helped Richard, if not come round here and I’ll give you personal tuition on how to roll your Rs in a very special way, Mmmmm...

Yours truly,

Sympathetic Sybil

Send your problem to sybil@writeoutloud.net

Picture of Sybil by Hana: http://hrneale.wordpress.com/

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