In this lesson, I will help you learn how to talk with a Spanish speaking accent and improve your Spanish pronunciation. Yesterday, I received an email from a customer a and she made a very interesting comment about Learning Spanish Like Crazy Level One. I responded to her email but I thought that you might find her comment interesting and my response helpful. So I’d like to share her comment and my response with you.
She wrote, “Patrick, I noticed an inconsistency in the course.”She said, “sometimes the male speaker pronounces the Spanish letter ‘y’ and the Spanish double l (ll) so that it sounds like the English letter ‘j.’
For example, he will pronounce the Spanish word ‘yo’ like the English word ‘Joe.’ On the other hand, the female pronounces the Spanish letter ‘y’ and the Spanish double l (ll) so that it sounds like the English letter ‘y.’ For example, she will pronounce the Spanish word ‘yo’ so that it sounds like ‘yo’ in the English word “yoyo.” TheBusinessDaily I wrote the reader to tell her that the “inconsistency” was by design.
When I first started learning Spanish most, if not all, of the self-teaching material s used the “neutral” pronunciation. In other words, the Spanish letter “y” and the Spanish double l (ll) were pronounced like the English letter “y” in “yoyo.”
One day I finally met a bi-lingual Spanish speaker that did not use the so-called neutral pronunciation. He used the “regional” pronunciation. And his pronunciation of the Spanish letter “y” and the Spanish double l (ll) sounded more like the English “j” sound.
I remember how confident and excited I was to tell him that I spoke Spanish. I think at the time I had been studying Spanish for about six months and I was really happy with the progress that I was making.
So I asked him to speak to me in Spanish — AND ONLY IN SPANISH.
Speaking at a slower than normal pace, he said a very simple phrase to me in Spanish. Referring to his wife he said “ella habla español,” which means “she speaks Spanish.”
“Ella habla español” is a phrase that is basic enough for someone that has been studying Spanish for six months to easily understand. Especially, when the speaker is speaking at a slower than normal pace.
But since I was unfamiliar with regional accents, it sounded to me as if he was saying “Asia habla español.” And I responded, “no, en Asia no se habla español,”
Then I added, “En Asia, se habla chino y japonés.”
For a about 5 or 6 seconds he was completely silent. And then he began to roar with laughter as if I was a stand-up comedian and I had just told a joke that HE FINALLY GOT.
He must have been thinking, “This guy can’t be really serious.”
So when developing the learning method for Learning Spanish Like Crazy course, I felt that it was really important to have native speakers with neutral accents and regional accents. Even though the regional accents are less common than the neutral accents.
From my experience, you can find both accents in the same country when you travel from one region to another. For example, the female speaker (Pamela) on most of the lessons has a very neutral accent. She is from Mexico.
Ruben the male speaker on most of the lessons, is also from Mexico but he is obviously from a part of Mexico where they have a very slight “regional” accent.
In some of the lessons in Level One we used Maria. Maria is from Medellin, Colombia. She has a very strong “regional” accent and when says the Spanish word “ella” to my Gringo ears it sounds a lot like the English word “Asia.”
And in the some of the lessons in Nivel Uno (Level One) we used a male speaker named Rene, from Bogota, Colombia. His accent is completely “neutral.”
If you really want to know how to talk with a Spanish speaking accent and improve your Spanish pronunciation, it is important that you become familiar with both accents.
Pat Jackson is the Founder of Learning Spanish Like Crazy – the only learning Spanish method that teaches real authentic everyday conversational Latin American Spanish. If you would like to get FREE Instant access to the first 2 MP3 audio lessons of Learning Spanish Like Crazy and get FREE instant acces to 10 learning Spanish videos from one of our BEAUTIFUL native-Spanish speaking Latina instructors
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