Are you learning Spanish? Are you struggling to know how to pronounce some of the words?
You have probably already come across some of the main differences between English and Spanish but… Have you ever heard a Spanish person speak? You might be surprised by just how different the tone and pronunciation of Spanish native speakers can be. Let’s take a look at some of the main differences and give you some tips on how to improve your pronunciation!
The Spanish “C”
Unlike most languages in the world, the Spanish “C” when in front of an ‘i’ or ‘e’ is pronounced like an English “th”. This can make fluency harder to grasp at first but you’ll get the hang of it in no time! But wait. It’s also important to know that in Southern Spain and South America, the “C” is pronounced as an “S” in the same instance.
Whichever way you learn, remember when to use it!
The Spanish “LL”
Another peculiarity of the Spanish pronunciation is the “LL”.
If you need to say a word like “llorar” which means to cry or “paella” the famous Spanish dish, you need to make a ‘y’ sound. So “llorar” would actually be said like “yorar”.
The Spanish “RR”
Here we have the infamous “RR”! This is probably the most difficult one for non-Spanish speakers to master. The idea is when you see a ‘double R’ between vowels you are meant to make a rolling sound. For some it comes naturally but for most non-Spanish speakers (and of course some natives too) it’s not so easy to make the sound. You have to practice rolling your “R’s” as much as you can and practice lots of different words e.g. “correr”, “arroz”, and a double whammy- “ferrocarril”!
The Spanish “J”
Words with J actually have a different sound in Spanish. You have to remember to say it like a “H” in English, but try to make a stronger sound using the back of the mouth. So, “jamon”, the famous Spanish meat, will sound like “hamon”. Also, you need to make the same sound when it is in the middle or at the end of a word too. For example, “caja” meaning box, would be like “caha” and “reloj”, meaning watch, would be said like “reloh”.
The best tip is to listen to native Spaniards talk! You can listen to podcasts, watch videos or even movies in Spanish and turn the English subtitles on. This will help you to gain an idea of how to do it.
And then, practice! Try to memorize which sounds go with which letters so when you are speaking you can keep trying to put this into practice.
With all of this in mind … you’ll sound like a native in no time!
If you’d like to learn Spanish and want to put your skills to the test then follow this link. We’ll tell you what level you’re working at and what you can do to improve.