Many people, including myself, find it difficult at first to properly pronounce the alveolar (trilled) r
in Sindarin and Quenya.
This is, obviously, very evident in English because the English lingua-palatal r
is very different from the alveolar version.
In Dutch (my native tongue) the alveolar r
used to be the norm. I sometimes hear it very clearly in old tv fragments or in records.
Since around the 1970's this has changed and now almost everyone in the Netherlands pronounces the r
in a sort of half-baked English way.
Apart from that I consider this not an improvement*, it is a pity because it requires more of an effort to learn to properly pronounce the elvish r
Over the past time I have tried to figure out myself how to learn to do it the proper way. It requires regular exercising and maintaining, but it is not undoable. I found a very interesting page at http://www.wikihow.com/Roll-Your-%22R%22s
where is explained in great detail how you could exercise this. It offers several different approaches, including one "developed by, and worked successfully on, a native speaker of English who had not successfully rolled a "R" in over 20 years of trying"
The article further states that:
Some people (especially those from countries where everyone can roll their "R"s with ease) may tell you that you could be genetically or physiologically unable to produce an alveolar trill. Unless you have one of the conditions listed above, this is absolutely not true. Rolling your "R"s is a little like touching your toes: both require flexibility and coordination in certain parts of the body which can be lost if not practiced regularly. The vast majority of people who can't touch their toes do not suffer from an innate disability: they simply need to regain the suppleness in their hips, hamstrings, etc. Similarly, those who can't roll their "R"s can gain the ability to do so by increasing the flexibility of their tongues.
They also give a link to a Spanish website which has a great Flash animation showing exactly how things work: http://www.uiowa.edu/~acadtech/phonetics/spanish/frameset.html
- click on "vibrantes" and then on the [r] :
I've created a PDF version of that wikihow page and put it on our server, so you can download it from there if you want to keep it offline or print it out http://parendili.org/doc/how_to_roll_your_r_wikihow.pdf
________________________________________* There is a children's choir by the name of "Kinderen voor Kinderen" (children for children **) in the upper-class-twit-like area "Het Gooi" where people were particularly eager to anglicise their r's. They were, in fact, so eager that they did not pronounce it in the English or American way but overdid it so grotesquely that the result sounded like èwhwr.
Thus you could hear songs on the radio that sounded a bit as if the choir was being strangled or chocking which, combined with the maniacal cheeriness of the music, gave a very awkward overall effect.
________________________________________** now I see this name written down, I realise that I never understood what they meant by that.