Accent Reduction and Communication Skills Training
Common Mispronunciations for Spanish Speakers
Because Spanish is your native language, you may find that the following sounds are particularly difficult for you to pronounce.
1. The “b” and “v” sounds are often confused You may notice that you pronounce “b” like “v” and “v” like “b.” These are important sounds to practice and master.
To form the "b" sound, place your lips together, then force out the sound.
For the "v", you will need to lightly bite your lower lip and continue the sound so that you can feel your lower lip vibrate.
The word “vet” may sound like “bet.” The word “boat” may sound like “vote.”
2. The “sh” and “ch” sounds are often confused The “sh” and “ch” sounds are often interchanged in words. The difference between these two sounds is this: The "ch" is actually made up of two sounds: "t" and "sh." For this sound, you will need to remember to begin by placing the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth; then finish with "sh." Pay special attention to learning how to hear and feel the difference between these two sounds.
The "sh" sound still begins with the tip of your tongue near the spot for the "t" sound, however you continue this sound.
The word “sheep” may sound like “cheap.” The word “chop” may sound like “shop.”
3. The “z” sound is pronounced like “s” This sound may be very challenging for you because you naturally pronounce “z” in Spanish like the American English “s” sound.The difference between the sounds is in what we call “voicing.”We use our voice to say “z” but don’t for “s.”The tricky part is that most of the time, the “z” sound in English is represented with the letter “s.”Devote a lot of time to this sound.Let’s look at how it can affect your English.
The word “was” may sound like “wuss.” The word “busy” may sound like “bissy.” The word “zoo” sounds like “Sue.”
"b" sound "v" sound
You must begin with your lips together, then separate your lips as you force out the sound.
If you lightly bite your lower lip and continue the sound, you will create a "v" instead.
"sh" sound "ch" sound
Round your lips and gently place your tongue tip behind your upper front teeth. It is a gentle sound that continues. We say this when we want someone to be quiet.
This is made up of "t" and "sh." Begin by rounding your lips, then place your tongue tip behind your front teeth and say "t" followed quickly by "sh."
"z" sound "s" sound
Smile and place the tip of your tongue behind your upper front teeth. Use your voice as you continue the sound.
This is what we call the "snake" sound because it sounds like hissing. It is formed just like "z" but you do not use your voice.