Rhotacism (speech impediment)

Rhotacism (/ˈrtəsɪzəm/) is a difficulty producing r sounds in the respective language's standard pronunciation. Speech pathologists call the condition de-rhotacism, or de-rhotacization, because the sounds lose their rhotic quality rather than becoming rhotic. Rhotacism is not always considered a speech impediment.[1]

Language developmentEdit

Rhotic sounds are usually the last ones a child masters. Some people never learn to produce them; they substitute other sounds, such as the velar approximant, the uvular approximant (often called the French R), and the uvular trill.[citation needed]

In English, the most common occurrence of this type is a pronunciation perceived as closer to the voiced labial-velar approximant [w] (typically, though, actually the labiodental approximant [ʋ]), which is known as r-labialisation.[citation needed]

Often, people with the condition are mistakenly referred to as a person with a lisp, which is a different speech pattern.

Across languagesEdit

Rhotacism is more common among speakers of languages that have a trilled R,[citation needed] such as Afrikaans, Arabic, Armenian, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Czech, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, Frisian, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Macedonian, Malay, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, and Swedish (except in the provinces of Skåne, Halland, Blekinge, Öland and southern Småland), Ukrainian, Welsh.[citation needed]

In the Czech language there is a specific type of rhotacism called rotacismus bohemicus which is an inability to pronounce the specific sound /ř/ [r̝] which is even more stressed than R sound. (For more info about this letter see voiced dental, alveolar and postalveolar trills.)[2]

Notable people with rhotacismEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Finnerty, Deirdre (3 May 2012). "Roy Hodgson: Is it wrong to mock the way he speaks?". BBC News. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  2. ^ Dostál, Miloslav. Bakalářská práce: Korekce rotacismu dětí předškolního věku v logopedické třídě běžné mateřské školy (PDF) (in Czech). Masarykova Univerzita v Brně.
  3. ^ Arthur, Isaac (8 April 2016). Fermi Paradox: The Dyson Dilemma v2.0. YouTube. Event occurs at 0:54. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  4. ^ McFadden, Robert D. (December 26, 2018). "Sister Wendy Beckett, Nun Who Became a BBC Star, Dies at 88" – via NYTimes.com.
  5. ^ "The Story of the Eye". www.bookforum.com.
  6. ^ Brook, Yaron (3 January 2018). Yaron's News Briefing Episode 12: Yaron's move & What to do about Iran. YouTube.
  7. ^ "Commitment 2020: Democratic Candidate Forum CD3". KOAT Action 7 News. Hearst Television, Inc. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  8. ^ "'You Must Remember This' podcast inspires art". The Spectrum & Daily News.
  9. ^ "30 YEARS OF MORSE ONSCREEN | Damian Michael Barcroft".
  10. ^ Radio's New Wave: Global Sound in the Digital Era. Routledge. 2013. p. 156. ISBN 978-1-136-44630-6.
  11. ^ "Chris "Mad Dog" Russo Is Really Upset That Joe Girardi Blew Him Off, But Why?". Deadspin.
  12. ^ Jones, Ellen E. (6 April 2014). "Lucy Worsley: The TV historian on BBC's The First Georgians, David Starkey and why she'll never appear on Strictly Come Dancing". The Independent. Retrieved 21 January 2019.