According to the answer of @what to the question Pronunciation of “lernst” there are 3 different ways to pronounce the alphabet r in German:

voiced uvular fricative [ʁ] (splattne's sample)
uvular trill [R]
alveolar trill [r]

(Regarding "splattne's sample" see his answer.)

My question is regarding the uvular trill. Which region is this pronunciation associated with? Is this the pronunciation in Hochdeutsch? And which of these is the most common in Germany?

  • 1
    related: german.stackexchange.com/questions/1155/…
    – Takkat
    Commented Apr 21, 2013 at 15:49
  • Related, but does not answer my questions unfortunately. Commented Apr 21, 2013 at 16:45
  • I know, but at least some reference to Bavaria there ;)
    – Takkat
    Commented Apr 21, 2013 at 17:41
  • 2
    I assume you're talking about the sample in this answer? If yes, do you mind linking to that one so that everyone knows what you're talking about.
    – Em1
    Commented Apr 21, 2013 at 17:41
  • In addition to Em1: You cite someone, but you did not link to the question/answer or give a reference. Note, that this not only would be good style, but in this special case in my opinion you also break the licence requirements of StackExchange.
    – Speravir
    Commented Apr 21, 2013 at 20:31

2 Answers 2


The voiced uvular fricative [ʁ] is nowadays the common pronunciation of "r" in High German. The uvular trill [R] is used if you want to emphasize the "r", or if you want to achieve a clear pronunciation in a more formal speech or conversation. In most contexts it is harder to speak and thus avoided.

Both originated from a weakening of the alveolar thrill and got used in educated speech out of convenience and because of the reputation of French where its use was also spreading.

The alveolar trill [r] is commonly used by older speakers but it got deprecated because of its association with rural, uneducated people. Educated people in the cities and the nobility of the various German states were Francophile for a long time and adapted a lot of French habits. It loses ground to [ʁ] and [R], but is still very common in the southern areas of German.

  • 1
    Sources for the voiced uvular fricative [ʁ] being common in High German?
    – gioele
    Commented Apr 29, 2013 at 6:18
  • de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stimmhafter_uvularer_Frikativ One can hear it on German radio and TV stations. I don’t have any academic papers on that subject (not my professionn), I just can share my observations, I live in Germany. Commented Apr 29, 2013 at 12:47

According to german wikipedia] uvular trill [R] is used as the standard pronounciation in Schweiz, Siebenbürgen, Bayern, Österreich, Südtirol and part of Norddeutschlands.


I'm from austria myself and only use it in classical singing or in very formal public speech: its used in "stage german" for acoustic reasons.


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