The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

R is a vowel

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Debate Round Forfeited
semihypocrite has forfeited round #3.
Our system has not yet updated this debate. Please check back in a few minutes for more options.
Time Remaining
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/3/2018 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 582 times Debate No: 112261
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)




The letter "r" in English is a vowel. It works and sounds like a vowel, so why isn't it? Think about how it sounds when it's just thrown in with the other vowels: "ah, oh, er, ooh, ih, ee, uh, ...". It's totally a vowel!

And what's up with "rhythm" or "turn"? BS is what! Nobody says the "u" in turn.

The letter "y" gets to be a vowel sometimes and really should be one, but we are taught that it is a consonant. Opponents will of course be biased against this because of this unquestionable and ingrained tradition.


If you speak with a strong american accent, you probably don't say the 'u' in 'turn' anywhere near as strong as the 'r'. This is an accent and not applicable to analysing the syntax of the language.

R is a consonant:


Use rabbit, rake, ring, and deer to teach students to recognise the letter r and hear its sound in the initial and final positions of words.

In a British accent or Australian accent you don't say the 'r' in 'turn' at all so I fail to see the relevance here.

Get over it noob.
Debate Round No. 1


Who gets to say what "real" English is anyway? The English?!? Languages evolve, such as uh English. Besides, what makes the English people's accent the correct one? What about old English? Wouldn't that be the "correct" one if we're talking about origin? Besides, the English language isn't a monarchy. And what about the fact that the majority of English speakers don't speak like the English? The largest group of English speakers are from the India area, so wouldn't that "accent" be the current example of English? I'm saying 'English' too much...

Besides all that, the American accents pronounce the R as a vowel. In fact there's nothing about the way the R sounds in other accents or even "original" English that make it sound anything like the consonants. Just because we can slap an R comes before a vowel doesn't seal the deal. Try "perturb" in non-American accents, because I don't hear the E on all of them. (Funny how we say "an R" BTW).

The fact that you quoted a site that provides reading instruction doesn't change the fact that R is works like a vowel, no matter how absolutely proper it is taught. When the formation of English was happening or whatever, if they called R a vowel, nobody would doubt it. It would be up there with A, E, I, O, and U. I think the Y as absolutely a vowel would be a better sell for you, right?


English evolves with time, yes. English (unlike Spanish and many languages) lacks a central authority.

In no dictionary at all that is in any way official or reputable, will you find R listed as a vowel. I cannot supply evidence for a lack of something. Look at Oxford dictionary, Merriam-Webster... You name it? R is a vowel in this day and age of English's evolution.

So, before you come preaching to me that English is a very flexible and evolving language, how abou tyou prove that in its current state of evolution, 'r/R' is a vowel.

Sorry to tell you, but even Indians learn English respecting the dictionaries that I just mentioned. Oxford and Cmabridge dictionaries are well-reputed and Pro has yet to provide a shred of evidence that 'r' is a vowel.

A non-American and non-Canadian, as well as non-Spanish (and other R-rolling mother-tongue speakers) are all going to ignore the R's in perturb and say 'pa-tuhb'. So where do they say the R? You also need to understand, the accent and pronounciation of a letter isn't how it's labelled as a consonant or a vowel:

You actually will find that it's the American accent (and Candian, Spanish accents) where R is undeniably a consonant whereas the softer-r-speaking ones make it more ambiguous. You are using the wrong accents to back your case but even in English accents, if the R is at the end or start of the word or just before a vowel, then the consonant-nature of it is absolutely clear to hear

"Consonants require more precise articulation than vowels, which is why children find them harder to learn, and often end up in speech therapy after having become so cross at not being understood that they’ve started hitting people."
"Most syllables contain a vowel, though vowel-like consonants can occasionally be syllables. And to complicate matters, many English vowels are technically two or three vowels shmooshed together."

"How consonants are produced

Saying consonant sounds involves constricting airflow in different locations in your mouth by:

  • briefly stopping then releasing the air (“p”, “b”, “t”, “d”, “k”, “g”),
  • diverting the airflow and associated resonance to your nose (“m”, “n”, “ng”),
  • squeezing the air through a narrow space (“th” as in “thin”, “th” as in “then”, “f”, “v”, “s”, “z”, “sh”, “zh” as in “vision”, “h”, and in posh dialects, “wh”),
  • combining stopping then squeezing (“ch”, “j”), or
  • narrowing the vocal tract (“w”, “y”, “r”, “l”)."
Debate Round No. 2
This round has not been posted yet.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Amphia 3 years ago
Haha, this is great.
This debate has 0 more rounds before the voting begins. If you want to receive email updates for this debate, click the Add to My Favorites link at the top of the page.

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.