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R (named ar )[1] is the eighteenth letter of the ISO basic Latin alphabet.



Egyptian hieroglyph
Etruscan R Greek
Later Etruscan R
D1 File:PhoenicianR-01.png 44px 60px 44px

The original Semitic letter may have been inspired by an Egyptian hieroglyph for tp, "head". It was used for by Semites because in their language, the word for "head" was r (also the name of the letter). It developed into Greek (rh ) and Latin R. It is likely that some Etruscan and Western Greek forms of the letter added the extra stroke to distinguish it from a later form of the letter P.

The minuscule (lower-case) form of r developed through several variations on the capital form. In handwriting it was common not to close the bottom of the loop but continue into the leg, saving an extra pen stroke. The loop-leg stroke shortened into the simple arc used today. Another minuscule, r rotunda ( ), kept the loop-leg stroke but dropped the vertical stroke, although it fell out of use around the 18th century.


In science, the letter R is a symbol for the gas constant. Mathematicians use R or \mathbb{R} (an R in blackboard bold, displayed as in Unicode) for the set of all real numbers.

R represents a rhotic consonant in many languages, as shown in the table below. The International Phonetic Alphabet uses several variations of the letter to represent the different rhotic consonants; represents the alveolar trill.

Alveolar trill Listen some dialects of British English or in emphatic speech, standard Dutch, Finnish, Galician, German in some dialects, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Czech, Lithuanian, Latvian, Latin, Norwegian, Polish, Catalan, Portuguese (traditional form), Romanian, Scots, Spanish and Albanian 'rr', Swedish, Welsh
Alveolar approximant Listen English (most varieties), Dutch in some Dutch dialects (in specific positions of words), Swedish, Faroese, Sicilian
Alveolar flap / Alveolar tap Listen Portuguese, Catalan, Spanish and Albanian 'r', Turkish, Dutch, Italian, Venetian, Galician, Leonese
Voiced retroflex fricative Listen Spanish used as an allophone of /r/ in some South American accents; Standard Chinese (in pinyin); Vietnamese (southern dialects)
Retroflex approximant Listen some varieties of American English; Standard Chinese (in pinyin); and Gutnish
Retroflex flap Listen sometimes in Scottish English
Uvular trill Listen German stage standard; some Dutch dialects (in Brabant and Limburg, and some city dialects in The Netherlands), Swedish in Southern Sweden, Norwegian in western and southern parts
Voiced uvular fricative Listen German, Danish, French, standard European Portuguese 'rr', standard Brazilian Portuguese 'rr'

Other languages may use the letter r in their alphabets (or Latin transliterations schemes) to represent rhotic consonants different from the alveolar trill. In Haitian Creole, it represents a sound so weak that it is often written interchangeably with w, e.g. Kweyol for Kreyol.

Brazilian Portuguese has a great number of allophones of such as , , , , , and , the latter three ones can be used only in certain contexts ( and as 'rr'; in the syllable coda, as an allophone of according to the European Portuguese norm and according to the Brazilian Portuguese norm). Usually at least two of them are present in a single dialect, such as Rio de Janeiro's , , and, for a few speakers, .


The letter R is the only letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet in which the uppercase has a closed section and the lowercase does not.

Dog's letter

The letter R is sometimes referred to as the littera canina (canine letter). This phrase has Latin origins: the Latin R was trilled to sound like a growling dog. A good example of a trilling R is the Spanish word for dog, perro.[2]

In William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, such a reference is made by Juliet's nurse in Act 2, scene 4, when she calls the letter R "the dog's name." The reference is also found in Ben Jonson's English Grammar.[3]

Related letters and other similar characters

Computing codes

1 and all encodings based on ASCII, including the DOS, Windows, ISO-8859 and Macintosh families of encodings.

Other representations

See also


External links

ace:R af:R als:R ar:R an:R arc:R ast:R az:R zh-min-nan:R be:R, be-x-old:R ( ) bs:R br:R ca:R cs:R co:R cy:R da:R de:R et:R el:R es:R eo:R eu:R fa:R fr:R (lettre) fy:R fur:R gv:Renniagh (lettyr) gd:R gl:R gan:R xal:R ko:R hr:R ilo:R id:R is:R it:R he:R ka:R kw:R sw:R ht:R ku:R la:R lv:R lt:R hu:R mk:R ( ) ms:R nah:R nl:R (letter) ja:R no:R nn:R nrm:R mhr:R ( ) uz:R (harf) pl:R pt:R ro:R qu:R ru:R ( ) se:R stq:R scn:R simple:R sl:R sr:R ( ) sh:R su:R fi:R sv:R tl:R th:R tr:R uk:R ( ) vi:R vo:R war:R yi:R yo:R zh-yue:R diq:R bat-smg:R zh:R

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