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English Speaking- The Amazing Journey from Spanish Patterns to Clear English Patterns

English Speaking- The Amazing Journey from Spanish Patterns to Clear English Patterns

 shutterstock_112318643Growth leaped ahead 53% for the Hispanic population in the United States to 54 million from 2000 to 2013.   That was mostly growth among US-born Hispanics, not immigrants according to Washington-based Pew Research Center.  That’s compared with 12 percent growth in the total population.

The number of Hispanics who speak Spanish at home reached a record 35.8 million because of the overall growth in the Hispanic population.

About half of U.S. born Hispanics speak Spanish and about half of their children retain Spanish.

From the English speech perspective, Hispanic pronunciation or Spanish accented English is different depending on the Hispanic country of origin or local dialects within a country.  Here are a few of the most common patterns of Spanish accented English. People with Spanish as their first language often insert  a quick vowel sound before an “s” at the beginning of the words.  Another common pattern is inserting a “g” sound before a “w” sound.   The English “b” is made with stiffer lips pressed together and has a stronger sound than the Spanish.  Similarly, the English “v” and “j” have much stronger voice from the throat.

Importantly, while Spanish and English use the same 5 letters for vowels, there are 5 vowel sounds in Spanish but 14 vowel sounds in English.  That means learning the rules for pronunciation of American English vowels is also critical.

There are several other substantial differences between Spanish and English.  According to research, Spanish is the fastest spoken language in the world.  Therefore, all the sounds, consonant s and vowels, are spoken quickly in Spanish.  In contrast, for English, some consonants and vowels are produced with quick muscles and others are produced with slow muscles. For example, to make the English “sh,” use slower muscles than the Spanish sound.  The English “ch” is very quick.

Because Spanish speech sounds are spoken quickly, the stiffness or tenseness of the speech muscles of tongue and lips is supposed to be relaxed.  In contrast, for clear American English, muscle tone or tenseness and stiffness is much greater.

That gives you a little window into the challenge of learning the patterns of clear American English when you have Spanish as a first language.

What we call accented English is what happens when a person has learned another language or languages first and then is working to learn and master the pronunciation of the English language.  In short, they use the pronunciation patterns of their first language for English.  For some speech sounds, the pronunciation pattern is the same in their first language as in clear American English.  In other sounds, the pronunciation pattern is different.   The difference could be in position of the tongue, lips, teeth and jaw.  It could be in the stiffness or tenseness of the muscles.  It could be in the speed, quick or slow, of the muscles.

So what is the path of learning clear American English?  It is learning and practicing the pronunciation patterns for clear American  English.  First you need to learn what those patterns are.  Then you need to practice and do those patterns perfectly over and over until they are engrained as habit in your brain and muscles.

A last comment.  Systematic learning is wonderful.  It makes learning easier.  It makes learning efficient, thus quicker.  And when you persevere step by step with your mastery, you will end up with glorious mastery.  Ah, now that is a sense of wellbeing.  You are making yourself the best version of yourself.

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

Check out our new advanced weekly speech tip program, our new subscription called ClearTalk Weekly, www.subscription.cleartalkmastery.com

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