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How to lose your Spanish accent when speaking in English

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How to lose your Spanish accent when speaking in English 

INDEX OF CONTENTS

  • Spanish as a Romance language
  • How to reduce your Spanish accent
  • Difficult Consonants in English
  • Intonation of speaking
  • Clean up your contradictions in English

Mastering the true English accent clearly for a native Spanish speaker is usually quite difficult, and this is because, as a general rule, native Spanish speakers need to be able to adjust in many aspects of their speech patterns, in order to sound truly English. Keep in mind that Spanish is very different from English in its origins. In fact, it is more closely related to Portuguese and Italian.

Spanish as a Romance language

Traditionally and technically, Spanish is considered a Romance language. The most widespread opinion is that its roots are connected with vulgar Latin that was brought to the Iberian Peninsula by the Romans . Vulgar Latin was the speech of middle-class Roman citizens from which Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian sprang.

English , on the other hand, is a West Germanic language much closer to Dutch, German, and Frisian (a dialect still spoken today near the German and Dutch regions that lie along the North Sea).

How to reduce your Spanish accent

English versus Spanish vowels

 Spanish has a total of 5 vowels . The English , in comparison, has up to 21 vowels , depending on the  English accent. It is important to note that for native Spanish speakers there may be some vocal discrepancies. Many native Spanish speakers substitute a Spanish vowel for a true English vowel. Generally, the vowels in Spanish are shorter than those used in English . As a result, bait “cebo” may look like bat “murcielago” and   seat “asiento” will sound like sit down “sentarse”

Using incorrect vowels can also alter the rate of speech necessary for English. Listen carefully to the vowels of native speakers. Record yourself reading short paragraphs from newspaper articles. Stay true to vowel lengths in English. Listen to the vowels that need to be longer and try to stretch your vowels and lengthen them where you need it.

English consonants

English and Spanish share practically the same alphabet. There are only a few letters of the alphabet in Spanish that are not contained in English. But don’t be fooled. Although the alphabets are very similar, the sounds are not . Many of the consonants of English are produced very differently from the correlatives of Spanish. That is why it is not uncommon for a native English speaker to hear a “v” instead of the “b” that a Spanish speaker can pronounce. Do not say van “furgoneta” to ban “prohibir”. Similar confusion can occur with “t” and “d”, so “sentarse ” sat may sound like sad “triste” and so on.

Difficult consonants in English

 Many native Spanish speakers try to perfect the more difficult consonants of English. This produces a very noticeable sense of clarity and confidence in the speaker . In Spain some dialects derived from Spanish share the most difficult sounds of the English language. For example , continental Spanish uses English “th” (found in words like thing and think ). These next 2 sounds are just some of the sounds you will need to address to ensure clear English.

  • TH / ð /

As you can see, this sound is one of the two ways to pronounce the letters “th “. This sound is different from any sound in Spanish.

You can find this sound at the beginning and middle of English words, and rarely at the end of words. It’s present in words like they, mother, breathe, feather, and put together. Make sure you create it as a sound that is distinct from any other sound.

Try these words:

  • then / (Entonces)
  • either / (ya sea)
  • breathe / (Respirar)
  • leather / (Cuero)
  • mother / (Madre)
  • Z / z /

It is important that this sound cannot be confused with a Spanish “s” . In any case, it must be borne in mind that this sound is not found in Spanish. This is one of the most common consonant sounds in English and it is also important that it never be mistaken for an “s” sound. It always occurs where a “z” appears and it can also appear in the letter “s” in words like have phase  (has, fase). Care must be taken so that it does not sound like a “th” sound.

Try these words:

  • Zipper / (cremallera)
  • Amazes / (sorprende)
  • Haze / (calina)
  • Mums / (mamás)
  • Analyse / (analizar)

Speech intonation

All languages ​​have their particular “musicality” or intonation in speech. The accents, the dialects have their rhythm and also their tone that match the expression. In this way, when we are in the process of learning a language, it is natural that we lean towards the intonation of our language to pronounce the new language. Although it may seem sweeter to us at times, however, the listener may have serious difficulties understanding you.

You should therefore try to slow down your speaking and match the words before rushing to sound more fluent. Because the problem is solved by speaking slower, which is how listeners can understand you much better. At the same time, you will feel more calm and confident when speaking. In this regard, it is advisable to use pauses to be able to organize your thoughts and for this you should do it calmly, taking the time you need

Cleanse your contractions in English

Finally, as an inescapable rule, you must pronounce your “nt” at the end of words . Many native Spanish speakers remove the important ending in words like, will not want, would not want, is not and instead say don, won, wouldon and isn. This is usually the cause of a lot of confusion in the listener because these verbs are used so frequently.

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