R (named ar/or "R", Oxford English Dictionary || /ˈɔr/ 2nd edition (1989); "ar", op. cit; a pronunciation is common in Ireland.) is the 18th letter of the English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet.
|Egyptian hieroglyph |
|Archaic Greek/Old Italic |
|Roman square capital |
|15th century Florentine|
|blackletter ( Fraktur)||German kurrent||modern cursive|
The descending stroke develops as a graphic variant in some Western Greek alphabets (writing rho as ), but it was not adopted in most Old Italic alphabets; most Old Italic alphabets show variants of their rho between a "P" and a "D" shape, but without the Western Greek descending stroke. Indeed, the oldest known forms of the Latin alphabet itself of the 7th to 6th centuries BC, in the Duenos and the Forum inscription, still write r using the "P" shape of the letter. The Lapis Satricanus inscription shows the form of the Latin alphabet around 500 BC. Here, the rounded, closing Π shape of the p and the Ρ shape of the r have become difficult to distinguish. The descending stroke of the Latin letter R has fully developed by the 3rd century BC, as seen in the Tomb of the Scipios sarcophagus inscriptions of that era. From around 50 AD, the letter P would be written with its loop fully closed, assuming the shape formerly taken by R.
The minuscule (lowercase) form ( r) developed through several variations on the capital form. Along with Latin minuscule writing in general, it developed ultimately from Roman cursive via the uncial script of Late Antiquity into the Carolingian minuscule of the 9th century.
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 in the Carolingian minuscule and until today.
A calligraphic minuscule r, known as r rotunda (ꝛ), was used in the sequence or, bending the shape of the r to accommodate the bulge of the o (as in oꝛ as opposed to or). Later, the same variant was also used where r followed other lower case letters with a rounded loop towards the right (such as b, h, p) and to write the geminate rr (as ꝛꝛ). Use of r rotunda was mostly tied to blackletter typefaces, and the glyph fell out of use along with blackletter fonts in English language contexts mostly by the 18th century.
Insular script used a minuscule which retained two downward strokes, but which did not close the loop ("Insular r", ꞃ); this variant survives in the Gaelic type popular in Ireland until the mid-20th century (but now mostly limited to decorative purposes).
In Hiberno-English the letter is called or .
The letter R is sometimes referred to as the littera canina (canine letter). This phrase has Latin origins: the Latin R was trill consonant to sound like a growling dog. A good example of a trilling R is the Spanish word for dog, perro.
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.
The letter is used to form the ending "-re", which is used in certain words such as centre in some varieties of English spelling, such as British English. Canadian English also uses the "-re" ending, unlike American English, where the ending is usually replaced by "-er" ( center). This does not affect pronunciation.
represents a [[rhotic consonant]] in many languages, as shown in the table below.
|Alveolar trill||some dialects of British English or in emphatic speech, standard Dutch language, Finnish language, Galician, German language in some dialects, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian language, Czech language, Lithuanian, Latvian language, Latin language, Norwegian mostly in the northwest, Polish language, Portuguese (traditional form), Romanian, Scots language, Slovak language, Swedish language, Welsh language; also Catalan language, Spanish language and Albanian|
|Alveolar approximant||English language (most varieties), Dutch language in some Dutch dialects (in specific positions of words), Faroese language, Sicilian|
|Alveolar flap / Alveolar tap||Portuguese, Catalan language, Spanish language and Albanian , Turkish language, Dutch language, Italian language, Venetian, Galician, Leonese language, Norwegian, Irish language, Māori|
|Voiced retroflex fricative||Norwegian around Tromsø; Spanish language used as an allophone of /r/ in some South American accents; Hopi language used before vowels, as in raana, "toad", from Spanish rana; Hanyu Pinyin transliteration of Standard Chinese.|
|Retroflex approximant||some English language dialects (in the American English, South West England, and Hiberno-English), Gutnish|
|Retroflex flap||Norwegian when followed by |
|Uvular trill||German language stage standard; some Dutch language dialects (in Brabant and Limburg, and some city dialects in The Netherlands), Swedish language in Southern Sweden, Norwegian in western and southern parts, Venetian only in Venice area.|
|Voiced uvular fricative||German language, Danish language, French language, standard European Portuguese , standard Brazilian Portuguese , Puerto Rican Spanish and 'r-' in western parts, Norwegian in western and southern parts.|
Other languages may use the letter 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 , 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 ; 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, .
|R||electrical resistance||ohm (Ω)|
|gas constant||joule per kilogramme|
|r||Position vector||meter (m)|
|r||radius of rotation or distance between two things such as the masses in Newton's law of universal gravitation||Metre (m)|