Have you been having a hard time pronouncing “turtle”?

Well, I could not pronounce this word for a long time! So I know how difficult this word can be. If you are having a hard time with it, I can help you.


This starts with “tur” whose pronunciation symbol is [tɚ].

For this R, you want to tense up your tongue right after pronouncing “T” and pull your tongue back straight. The key is to have your tongue straight and tense and move it towards your throat. Push your tongue back as if you block your throat with the back of the tongue. This R is the same as “bird” “hurt”.


“tle” is very difficult for many English learners.

The pronunciation symbol is [ɾl̩]

[ɾ] is Tap T which is softened T. I explain how to pronounce Tap T in one of the recent videos. Click here to watch the video.

[l̩] is called syllabic L. Which means it has a beat (syllable). You see a little dot on the bottom [  ̩ ]. This is a marker for syllabic consonants. When you have a syllabic consonant (in this case, L), You do not insert the schwa /ə/ between the consonant and the one before. In this case, you do not insert the schwa between T and L. But instead you hold your tongue strongly for L at the end.

You tap your tongue twice really fast against the alveolar ridge to pronounce [ɾ][l̩]. But the second time around, you hold your teeth at the alveolar ridge and pronounce L.

The key is to pronounce it quickly with a lot of energy and air. Watch the video for more visual help.

Comment below to let me know if you got it, or if you have any questions about English learning.

Thank you for reading!

American English pronunciation coach. Studied linguistics at UCLA. Specializing in phonetics, phonology, intonation, and second language acquisition.

She likes music and Toastmasters. Recently she enjoys playing ukulele and hand bells.