A fun video today for the language mavens out there. PBS’s Otherwords takes a look at this most unique letter, and asks whether it should be considered a vowel. The short answer is that it depends on where you’re from and how you pronounce it. The standard US “rhotic” pronunciation does fit all of the requirements of vowel-hood, but pronunciation varies widely across different geographic regions. There’s also an interesting story about the “dropped R” that became popular among the aristocracy in England, where that spread to in the US, and the social connotations it carries.