Your language learning journey will require some helpful tools and resources to gain fluency. That is why Tandem is here to help! With the Tandem app, we connect language learners to native speakers to help them speak any language, anywhere. As one of the most spoken languages in the world, Spanish deserves a place on your list of not only one of the languages to learn, but pronunciations to perfect. A convincing Spanish accent isn’t something that comes automatically when speaking the language – it has to be worked on deliberately. If you’re aiming to take your Spanish skills to the next level, read the following ways to improve your Spanish accent and to find innovative ways of speaking more like a native Spanish speaker – which is the height of flattery for any language learner.
You can spend years reviewing key vocabulary, memorizing all those tricky conjugations, and learning to differentiate between the subjunctive and indicative moods. But trying to actually sound like a Spanish speaker is a challenge in and of itself. Since Spanish frequently looks like English, it can be easy to forget that the two languages have quite different pronunciation rules. Some sounds in Spanish are quite difficult for English speakers to master, and improving your Spanish accent takes effort. Here are six quick fixes to help you get rid of that pesky foreign accent and sound more like a native Spanish speaker in no time.
Things to know
Pick Your Accent
If you’re just starting to learn Spanish, you may be having problems distinguishing between different Spanish accents. Argentina, Spain, Mexico, Cuba, and all other Spanish-speaking countries in the world speak their own version of Spanish. Some are so dramatically different, they may not even sound like Spanish to you.
Pronounce those Accents
Amongst the fun ways of improving your Spanish pronunciation is emphasizing Spanish accents. It may be all right for someone who is new to the Spanish language to ignore the little dashes written above a certain syllable in a Spanish word, but if you really want to perfect your Spanish pronunciation, it’s time you paid attention. Word accents are especially important in Spanish because not only do they alter the meaning of the word, they can make all the difference on whether or not you’ll be understood.
Vowels in Spanish
When it comes to vowels, Spanish is much simpler than English. While English has what feels like a million different vowel sounds, some long and some short, in Spanish we only have five different vowels, which are the written ones that you all know (a, e, i, o, u), and they’re always short. When you see a written vowel in English, it will often be pronounced in two sounds. For example, the letter u in the word “unit” requires a diphthong, or two different sounds, before the n. This will never happen in Spanish.
Learn the pronunciation for R
There are actually two different but similar R sounds in Spanish. The tapped R sound is written with a single ‘r’ and is pronounced somewhat similar to how we English speakers. The second is the rolled R, which has more of a trilled sound. It is mostly written with two “r’s”, however, a single “r” can also be rolled if it’s at the beginning of a word. The most important thing to understand is that the Spanish R, whether trilled or tapped, is absolutely nothing like the English R sound.
Soften your T’s and D’s
In Spanish, t’s are not pronounced the same way. When making a “t” sound in Spanish, press the tip of your tongue against the top of your front teeth. This produces a softer, gentler “t” sound. In Spanish, you must make the “d” sound with your tongue barely touching the back of your top teeth. In this case, the result is a much softer sound, almost like the English “th” in the word “this.” You’ll be able to pick out the areas that need improvement much more clearly than you would while speaking.
Start implementing these six quick fixes today, and soon you’ll be the one mistaken for a native Spanish speaker!