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Three Most Commonly Mispronounced English Sounds for Spanish Speakers

Three Most Commonly Mispronounced English Sounds for Spanish Speakers

shutterstock_101531500Nearly 20% of Americans speak a different language at home. About 47% of the foreign-born  population are Hispanic. The Latino population has doubled since 1990. Florida is home to the third highest total of Latinos, or 22.8 percent of the state’s population. California and Texas are home to even larger totals of Latinos at 38.1 percent Latino.

 Our Spanish-as-a-first-language students in Florida and California, and Canada and Australia hold management positions (especially for restaurants). They are also teachers or professors, and they are entrepreneurs. Two of our students have won “manager of the year” for a large restaurant chain in Florida.

When I was in Miami, a human resource administrator stopped me in the hall to praise Carlos. “What an amazing change, “she said. “It used to be he wouldn’t talk at all. Now he stops me to do friendly talk. Getting to speaking clear English has given him amazing confidence.” 

Life change. That’s exactly it. When you know you have the clear English speaking skill, then your confidence soars, and life, career and relationships blossom.

There is not one Spanish but many Spanishes. Countries and regions of countries have particular speech sound differences. For example, many people from Cuba have a “w” sound which is preceded by a “g” sound. So the “w” sounds like a “gw.” (Tip: Because Spanish as a first language people can have very different speech sounds, that makes it so wise to do a good assessment on speech sounds and word intelligibility. That way you know what your errors are so you can work directly on them. That makes for efficient learning!)

 What are three of the most frequent errors for Spanish as a first language? By numbers, the most frequent errors are the short vowel “a”, “d”, “z.” Also many people pronounce these sounds inaccurately: “j”, “ch”, short vowel “i.” Below is a quick lesson for “j” in “jewelry”. Father R, Miami, Florida, asked for help with exactly that word in this week’s personal coaching.

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