There are mixed points of view on whether you can train your tongue muscles to eventually produce the sound, I’m an eternal optimist, so I’m going to believe it’s possible. I’ve definitely improved my pronunciation over the years AND I notice that if I speak for long periods in Italian, my mouth starts to mould the letters and sounds much better and sometimes I do roll off a spontaneous Italian double R. I refuse to give up ya’ll! However, if I never reach this figurative finish line, I’d find myself in good company. There are actually many native Italians who speak with an “erre moscia” which is often attributed to “rotacismo” in the speech pathology world (I wasn’t able to find an English translation!). This is proof that there are cases in which, even after trying corrective measures, a person just lacks the ability to make the R sound. Have you ever heard an Italian with an “erre moscia”? You probably have and maybe not entirely realized it. Some famous personalities in the Italian media that have it are TV personality Maria De Filippi and motorcyclist Andrea Iannone (pictured above with Belen Rodriguez, and she seems to like his inability to roll Rs, in fact she seems pretty infatuated with the "erre moscia" which roughly translated, means "millionaire" ehehe). Just kidding, it's actually even more laughable, "moscia" translates to limp, flaccid, or wimpy. A metaphorical flaccid letter R.
One thing I’ve asked myself a lot is whether there is something to be revered about the “erre moscia”. I know, I'm very philosophic, I always ask the most profound questions. You're welcome. Anyways, some people argue that it’s a speech impediment (not sexy), others say it makes someone sound aristocratic (sexy), others yet might choose to say snobby (not sexy). Personally, I find it extremely endearing, almost adorable but as always dependent on the speaker. I consider it in the same way as I consider accents. A Southern drawl might be drop-dead sexy coming out of a blond in cut-off jeans or out of Sam Hunt for that matter, but it can also come off as irritating when spoken by someone else. For the meantime, I’m going to embrace both my North American accent and my “erre moscia” but if you hear someone repeating “correre” under their breath like a madwoman serial killer, it’s probably me…!
For more details on this topic, check out the ThoughtCo. article: Erre Moscia: Dispelling Some Linguistic Myths and Legends. And as always, let me know what you guys think about this so-called "erre moscia", are you a fan or foe?
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to "dare un'occhiata" at these ones:
The English Stare and Getting "Englished" Living Abroad and How To Deal
What I'm Really Thinking While Speaking Italian as a Second Language
Taking Risks in Language Learning
The Gift of Language: Italian and Beyond
The Neverending Story of Learning Italian
Living in Italy, Speaking in English
How to Keep Learning Italian in Italy