Today at Immersia we present you a quick guide with three tips to improve your accent in Spanish. Of course, the pronunciation of each country has its own beauty and there is not only one correct way to speak the Spanish language, but it is logical that we strive to imitate the speech of the inhabitants of a foreign country if we are interested in their language. Do you dare to try it?
Working on the accent is often a stressful matter for students of any foreign language. However, you must bear in mind that the most important thing is to be able to communicate. In other words, make yourself understood and understand what others are telling you.
Don't forget that even within your country there is a wide variety of accents. The same is true in Spain and this phenomenon is amplified due to the huge amount of Spanish - speaking countries is in the American continent as Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia, and many others. For this reason, you should not interpret these pronunciation tips as dogmatic. Each accent is unique and beautiful, but when it comes to teaching a language there is always a tendency to standardize pronunciation to make it easier for students to assimilate it.
That said, the time has come to start with the three tips you must follow to practice your Spanish pronunciation:
1. Get familiar with vowel sounds
You may find it shocking but the Spanish vowels have a unique sound. In other words, they never vary. To follow the explanation, take a look at the list of associated Spanish vowels with their corresponding English sound:
A = Ah
E = Eh
I = Ee
O = Oh
U = Oo
A very useful exercise is to associate each vowel with each letter of the alphabet. In Spain, this is a fairly common practice among children who are learning to read. The "b" with the "a" "ba", the "b" with the "e" "be" and so with each vowel and each letter of the alphabet.
2. Spanish and English consonants
In Spanish, the letter “d” and the “t” have a soft, un-aspirated sound. You can check it, for example, by listening to how words such as "tienda" sound. But it is useless to read the classification of sounds in an article or in a textbook. Listening to songs or watching movies that are dubbed into Spanish with their corresponding subtitles can help you.
Be careful, sometimes the "c" and the "z" sound the same as in the case of the word "cereza". Other times the "c" will sound like the "k" in words like "casa" or "cuello." The "ll" and "y", as well as the "b" and "v", also sound the same. Look at the words "ayuda", "llama" or " beso" and "vaso".
3. Pronunciation reinforcement activities
You should know that there are no shortcuts to pronounce a language fluently. The good thing about Spanish is that the sounds that each vowel associated with each consonant makes are the same. Listening to Spanish speakers and repeating their sentences is a good way to practice.
But remember that beyond the opportunities to rehearse learning Spanish with songs or watching a television series, the most effective way to get a natural and understandable accent is to talk to other people.
At Immersia we want to finish our article on tips to improve your accent in Spanish by encouraging you to participate in the language immersion that we offer in our Spanish courses abroad. Nothing better to immerse yourself in the Spanish culture to improve your ear and your accent!