Education, Humor, Satire

‘R-uh’ is Not a Letter

By Shawna Collier

The pronunciation of this letter has just one syllable

(NASHVILLE) Just in time for summer, the National Association of Elementary School Teachers issued a plea this morning to parents of African-American pupils that they teach their children that the letter ‘R’ has only one syllable.

“For years we’ve been faced with a smattering of African-American children who pronounce ‘R’ like ‘are-uh,’” Connie Brown, NAEST president told The Peoples News. “This has got to stop.”

Almost every black person can remember a classmate who, when reciting the alphabet, would stumble over ‘R,’ as in “…ell, em, en, oh, pee, cue, are-uh, ess, tee…” but carry on as if nothing was amiss.

Since the culprit was usually a big kid, no one alerted him to his error by either correction or ridicule.

The Peoples News showed a chart of the alphabet to 100 people in downtown Nashville this morning and asked them to pronounce the letters. Seventeen said ‘r-uh.’

“What’s wrong with what I said?” wondered one of them, Amos Nandy, a Nashville resident who said he is 6’5” and weighs 278 pounds. The Peoples News reporter did not tell him.

No one is certain when ‘R,’ commonly pronounced ‘are,’ took on the extra ‘uh’—or why.

Fisk University linguistics professor Archie Drell said some trace the multi-syllabic pronunciation to African tribes whose dialects don’t include the letter R.

“But of course that’s just crazy talk,” Drell said. “There’s no connection to Africa or slavery or anything else other than people too lazy to learn the correct pronunciation.”

The NAEST also reiterated for the 17th straight year that ‘ask’ is not pronounced ‘ax’ and that while it reluctantly accepts ‘fixin’ to’ as an alternate for ‘going to,’ the non-word ‘fintin’ is not.

Note: This article is satire, brought to you by the creative minds at The Peoples News. It’s not real, but we hope it made you think.

© 2008 The Peoples News

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17 thoughts on “‘R-uh’ is Not a Letter

  1. A big kid, eh? That explains it.

    Posted by Nolanimrod | June 26, 2008, 12:22 am
  2. LMAO (whoa, am I first?). My mother is an elementary school teacher. She’ll get a kick out of this… 🙂

    Posted by Victoria Eiland | June 26, 2008, 10:47 am
  3. I find it funny that a person can complete grades 1-12 and still come out unable to speak english. Either there is a problem with the school or there is a serious problem with the child. But maybe its a serious problem with the parent who can’t speak english themselves. Either way in the end the child ends up being the looser.

    Posted by Gregory Young | June 26, 2008, 4:13 pm
    • Apparently there was a problem with your parents who didn’t teach you the difference between LOSER and looser.

      Your looser connection to proper English makes you a loser.

      Posted by Dan | November 11, 2010, 1:11 pm
  4. What about “Uh-Ruh?,” as in “Uh-Ruh, is that yo dog?”

    Come to think of it, what about “Yo?,” as in “Uh-Ruh, is that yo dog?”

    Come to think of it, what about “Yo?,” as in “Yo! Uh-Ruh, is that yo dog?”

    Come to think of it, I need to go lie down.

    Posted by Tim | June 26, 2008, 6:53 pm
  5. LOL, my family is full of educators’ and they can tell many tales on murdering the kings’ english….there’s another R pronounciation… arr-rah, probably shouldn’t laff scareeeeem

    Posted by Rose | June 27, 2008, 2:08 am
  6. Both my parents who are Librarians loved this article when I showed it to them.

    I am sure my Godfather who was a Grammarian and English Teacher would be “rolling” in his grave if he saw this.

    Posted by Lz4broc | June 27, 2008, 12:26 pm
  7. Okay, that was funny! But Gregory, who, or what, are the kids “looser” than? Or do you mean “loser”? Please don’t criticize the english others speak just yet.

    Posted by TeacherC | June 27, 2008, 2:21 pm
  8. My first memorable experience with this pronunciation came in high school when our black teacher, in preparing us for a test, told the class to be familiar with Roosevelts 4 R’s (are-uhs) for reconstruction following WW2. Hastily taking notes, I asked him to spell are-uhs. His response: You trying to be funny boy! The class got a laugh-me chastised.

    Posted by bruce keever | June 27, 2008, 2:39 pm
  9. lol.
    I corrected my child every time he mispronounced ‘R’. Now I am working on ‘el-im-in-o-pee’ instead of L M N O P.

    Posted by Sista GP | June 28, 2008, 1:28 pm
  10. I had a Sunday School Teacher that admonished children not to get “ef-fies” on their report cards…I was thinking, “don’t you mean Fs?” (I didn’t dare say it though…you didn’t correct adults in the 80s.)

    Posted by Kim | July 8, 2008, 9:21 pm
  11. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Oh the perils of growing up in the South! My one complaint about this blog is that the writers don’t update it regularly enough. I love this blog, keep the truth coming!

    Posted by Amy | July 11, 2008, 11:24 am
  12. Help!!! I can’t get offline. I’ve been fixinta go to bed since 9p.m. last night.. it’s now 9:38 a.m. I can’t stop reading this stuff. I’m sure my grandkids are wondering why is granny in her room laughing so hard.

    Posted by DeniseDW | July 26, 2008, 10:37 am
  13. you should ax someone from Missour-ah their opinion about this blog.

    Posted by sirena | August 27, 2008, 7:48 am
  14. that’s the best way for kids to learn how to say it that’s the way my mother taught me when I wasn’t able to say it roght.

    Posted by Courtney James | June 1, 2009, 10:51 am
  15. I live in Balghettomore Maryland and work for a company that has an R-uh in all their contract numbers. People call all day long. When asked what their ticket number is, it always begins with R-uh.

    Posted by rose cupelli (@rozeebird) | July 6, 2011, 7:38 am
  16. When I was in 1rst grade I lived in Texas and had a wonderful African American Teacher.. however, she did say R’uh. My Mother would always tell me that is NOT correct. Over the years I had Many other teachers that corrected that as well. I live in Tennessee now, and many African American residence that call into my place of business still say “R’hu”. I shake my head each time I hear it.

    Posted by Tabitha | April 23, 2015, 9:55 am

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