Common English Mispronunciations of Spanish Speakers
Have you ever wondered if everyone who speaks your mother tongue struggles with the same challenges as they endeavor to learn the English language? You can be sure that you are not alone. Perhaps, your first language doesn’t use a few of the consonant or vowel sounds utilized in the English language. Possibly, your native tongue articulates each word separately while English uses reductions and several kinds of linking to bring a rhythm to its fluency; this may present a difficult concept for you and your countrymen to grasp at first. If your mother tongue is free of intonation like Spanish, this will inevitably bring challenges when you’re discovering where to include word stress and how to appropriately finish a sentence or question. In the following paragraphs we look closely into the common Spanish speakers English mispronunciations.
Therefore, Spanish speakers endeavoring to become fluent in American English will almost all come across similar difficulties as they learn to articulate English with clear pronunciation. Is Spanish your mother language? Are you on a voyage venturing to become fluent in American English? More than likely, you have struggled with many of the same challenges faced by other Spanish speakers. This brief article will present a few ways for you to conquer these challenges and communicate effectively.
The Voiceless TH Sound
A common mispronounced sound is the voiceless TH sound. The majority of Spanish speakers will use the T sound instead of this sound. American English has two sounds articulated with TH. One is voiceless as in the words, “think” and “thanks”; the other is voiced like in the words “This” and “that”. If you touch the tip of your tongue between your upper and lower front teeth allowing air to flow through, you will be able to articulate each of these sounds. The words “think”, and “thanks” are made without the vocal cords involved, but the words “this” and “that” utilize them. So, instead of placing your tongue behind your upper teeth on the top of your mouth for this sound, you can be sure to place your tongue on your front teeth as you clearly pronounce this sound.
The S Sound At The Beginning Of Words
Another commonly mispronounced sound is the S sound at the beginning of a word. And most Spanish speakers naturally place the EH vowel sound before the S sound in a word. In order to avoid this common error, place your hand on your throat to recognize that the vocal cords aren’t used in the S sound. If you insert the EH vowel sound with the S sound, you will feel a vibration in your throat which is incorrect. When you are pronouncing the word “school”, your throat won’t vibrate until you say “ool”. Also, if you pause for just a half second before the word beginning with s, this will help you concentrate on only saying the S sound as you pronounce the word. For example, say “private”, then pause a half second, then make the “Sk” sound before pronouncing “ool”…”school”… “Private_school”.
The IH Sound
Sometimes, Spanish speakers may say the EE like zebra vowel sound instead of the IH like pig vowel sound. To pronounce the IH like pig sound, slightly pull your lips back as you drop your jaw and allow the tip of your tongue to rest behind your lower front teeth. One way to contrast this IH vowel sound from the EE vowel sound is to articulate the words “live” and “leave”. Also We recommend you do this while looking yourself in a mirror. Pay close attention to what is happening with your lips, jaw, and tongue as you articulate these words aloud. “Live”…”leave”. You can hear the difference in the vowel sounds as you speak. Don’t be afraid to exaggerate the words as you practice; this will help to build the muscle memory in your mouth which will eventually cause you to pronounce the words naturally.
One super helpful website, where you can search for specific words and their pronunciation, is called Zizifox.com. You will find several short video clips from TV and movie scenes showing different people pronouncing your searched word. This will give you many examples of how the average American uses the word.
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