To start off, check out this video- it’s called “Things that Americans say in Spanish” and it’s actually hilarious because many of us start speaking Spanish like this.
I mentioned before that I was taking a Spanish Phonetics class and I’m really enjoying it! It’s helpful for improving my pronunciation and I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned to help anyone else trying to improve their accent in Spanish.
Shorten your vowels: make them short and quick
In English, we tend to lengthen vowels while Spanish vowels are short and quick. For example, if you pronounce the name “Sue” you’ll notice that the vowel is “glided off” so to speak and extended. Now if we say the word “su” in Spanish, it’s supposed to be short and abrupt. Another example would be the English word “see” vs. the Spanish word “sí.” The English word is glided off while the Spanish is short and abrupt.
Round and tense up your lips when pronouncing the Spanish [u] and [o] vowels
In English, our lips tend to be more relaxed when pronouncing these two vowels than in Spanish. If you pucker up your lips when you pronounce a word like “su” and make them tense, you’ll notice a difference than when you pronounce the name “Sue” in English. Your lips will be more tense and you’ll sound more like a native speaker.
Stretch and tense up your lips when pronouncing the Spanish [e] and [i] vowels
When you pronounce the word “sí” you should stretch your lips as far as you can and make them tense and you’ll notice the difference. You’ll notice the same thing with the [e] vowel when you say the word “de.” You can fill your lips stretching and you produce a more native-like sound.
In my opinion, pronunciation is a key part of speaking a language fluently. Of course, there will certain sounds that you can’t pronounce(like the “rr” in Spanish for me) but I still believe that it’s important to recognize the phonetics of the language that you’re learning almost as a form of respect.
Well, hope this tips helped! Feel free to comment and any more tips that you know! 🙂