Spanish Accent

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miles
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Spanish Accent

Postby miles » Sat Aug 06, 2022 3:21 am

Hi,

I have a feeling this topic is a bit wiley…

I am attempting to find a good system for help with my accent.

I am born and raised in USA and I am learning Spanish with a focus on Mexican cadence and feel.

The advice I have found is to work on the alphabet and vowel sounds and to record oneself any other ideas?! A good video of Latin American tongue twisters?

My aim is not to eliminate my accent.

My aim is to smooth it out so that all the words are clear and the drift of the sentences is not snagged on a thick accent. It has taken me close to a year of practicing rolling r’s almost every day to kind of be able to do it!
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Re: Spanish Accent

Postby Chmury » Sat Aug 06, 2022 4:50 am

Hey Miles, welcome to the forum.

Firstly as someone who's first foreign language was also Spanish and who was born tongue tied, I can tell you that it took me roughly a year until I could roll my r's too, and I still need lots of practice when those double r's fall between two vowels for example. But with lots of practice you can get to a decent level.

With regard to accent, what worked for me was, and still is, to listen to lots of audio in the accent you're attempting to acquire, in my case Castilian Spanish, and then simply repeat out loud and try to mimic them. I would walk around the neighbourhood in the evening just pronouncing certain words and phrases and really focusing on how they sound coming from a native speaker, and then comparing that to my own pronunciation and accent. I'd also read out loud lots in the language, and if you have a dialogue written down with the accompanying audio, i.e., what's provided in nearly every course book these days, that's also super helpful. As you can then link the written word with the spoken and see, not just hear, how native speakers are pronouncing certain words, sounds, what have you. And lastly singing along to music I think also works a treat. The amount of times I listened and sang along to Clandestino by Manu Chao.. jesus. Such an amazing album which no doubt helped me with my pronunciation. I played that album so much in my car that at a certain point, I could no longer eject it from the CD player!

So that would be my advice. Listen lots (I mean lots!) to the accent you wish to acquire, and then try and replicate what you hear. The more you do this the more you will internalise the accent and develop an ear for the nuances of the language/accent. In this replication phase you're essentially training all the muscles used to create speech a whole new gamut of positions in order to produce these new sounds, so don't be discouraged if it seems to take a while. It usually does for many of us if your goal is to be able to pass as a native speaker.

Enjoy the process Miles! Nothing quite like the foreign language journey.
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Re: Spanish Accent

Postby leosmith » Sun Aug 07, 2022 2:30 am

miles wrote:I am attempting to find a good system for help with my accent.

You did Pimsleur - did you not repeat each phrase while trying to imitate the pronunciation as closely as possible, per the instructions? Most Pimsleur finishers develop a good accent.

You probably already know how to pronounce all the individual sounds of the language, or phonemes, but if not, find a resource that teaches the alphabet, with audio, and make sure you master all of these before you do anything else. This step shouldn't take very long, especially since you said you can pronounce rr already.

In addition to that, I would recommend reading text that has audio, out loud. I gave you a link to 100 6-minute conversations with audio in your last thread. Those are Venezuelans, but their pronunciation is very standard Latin American Spanish. You can read a phrase out loud, play its audio, then repeat out loud if you feel your pronunciation was off in any way. Continue to the next phrase and so on until you are finished. Alternatively you could listen to a phrase, read it while pronouncing it, then go onto to the next phrase and repeat until you are finished - but this is less of a reading exercise than the first way.

You should also converse. A lot! Always self-monitor your pronunciation when you do this and make adjustments if necessary.

Do not model your pronunciation after songs. Singing is useful, don't get me wrong, but singers often use non-standard pronunciation, so you shouldn't necessarily go around talking like someone sings.

Finally, it is helpful to have native or advanced speakers of the language occasionally give you feedback, and let you know if there are any issues. Good luck!
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miles
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Re: Spanish Accent

Postby miles » Sun Aug 07, 2022 1:43 pm

leosmith wrote:
miles wrote:I am attempting to find a good system for help with my accent.

You did Pimsleur - did you not repeat each phrase while trying to imitate the pronunciation as closely as possible, per the instructions? Most Pimsleur finishers develop a good accent.

You probably already know how to pronounce all the individual sounds of the language, or phonemes, but if not, find a resource that teaches the alphabet, with audio, and make sure you master all of these before you do anything else. This step shouldn't take very long, especially since you said you can pronounce rr already.

In addition to that, I would recommend reading text that has audio, out loud. I gave you a link to 100 6-minute conversations with audio in your last thread. Those are Venezuelans, but their pronunciation is very standard Latin American Spanish. You can read a phrase out loud, play its audio, then repeat out loud if you feel your pronunciation was off in any way. Continue to the next phrase and so on until you are finished. Alternatively you could listen to a phrase, read it while pronouncing it, then go onto to the next phrase and repeat until you are finished - but this is less of a reading exercise than the first way.

You should also converse. A lot! Always self-monitor your pronunciation when you do this and make adjustments if necessary.

Do not model your pronunciation after songs. Singing is useful, don't get me wrong, but singers often use non-standard pronunciation, so you shouldn't necessarily go around talking like someone sings.

Finally, it is helpful to have native or advanced speakers of the language occasionally give you feedback, and let you know if there are any issues. Good luck!



Thanks for all this advice. Yes I think Pimsleur was good for my pronunciation and several of the tutors I have had on italki during last couple weeks have said so which gives me some confidence and energy to plow through Pimsleur 4 and 5!

I have been checking out the languagecrush website. Awesome resource! Thanks for the link. I listened to and read a couple of the conversations including one that mentioned the tv show El Chapo Ocho which is a striking show!
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dgc1970
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Re: Spanish Accent

Postby dgc1970 » Sun Aug 07, 2022 5:28 pm

miles wrote:
leosmith wrote:
miles wrote:I am attempting to find a good system for help with my accent.

You did Pimsleur - did you not repeat each phrase while trying to imitate the pronunciation as closely as possible, per the instructions? Most Pimsleur finishers develop a good accent.

You probably already know how to pronounce all the individual sounds of the language, or phonemes, but if not, find a resource that teaches the alphabet, with audio, and make sure you master all of these before you do anything else. This step shouldn't take very long, especially since you said you can pronounce rr already.

In addition to that, I would recommend reading text that has audio, out loud. I gave you a link to 100 6-minute conversations with audio in your last thread. Those are Venezuelans, but their pronunciation is very standard Latin American Spanish. You can read a phrase out loud, play its audio, then repeat out loud if you feel your pronunciation was off in any way. Continue to the next phrase and so on until you are finished. Alternatively you could listen to a phrase, read it while pronouncing it, then go onto to the next phrase and repeat until you are finished - but this is less of a reading exercise than the first way.

You should also converse. A lot! Always self-monitor your pronunciation when you do this and make adjustments if necessary.

Do not model your pronunciation after songs. Singing is useful, don't get me wrong, but singers often use non-standard pronunciation, so you shouldn't necessarily go around talking like someone sings.

Finally, it is helpful to have native or advanced speakers of the language occasionally give you feedback, and let you know if there are any issues. Good luck!



Thanks for all this advice. Yes I think Pimsleur was good for my pronunciation and several of the tutors I have had on italki during last couple weeks have said so which gives me some confidence and energy to plow through Pimsleur 4 and 5!

I have been checking out the languagecrush website. Awesome resource! Thanks for the link. I listened to and read a couple of the conversations including one that mentioned the tv show El Chapo Ocho which is a striking show!


Olle Kjellin has a free technique that I believe has been discussed on this forum. He has a Facebook group called "Pronunciation Best Practices", if you click on the Files section of this Facebook page he has a description of the technique. This guy used his method:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lB9_3pe0DA
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miles
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Languages: english (n) B2 French and fished pimsleur 3 spanish. i want to be fluent in some way in spanish in 2 years.
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Re: Spanish Accent

Postby miles » Mon Aug 08, 2022 3:51 am

dgc1970 wrote:
miles wrote:
leosmith wrote:
miles wrote:I am attempting to find a good system for help with my accent.

You did Pimsleur - did you not repeat each phrase while trying to imitate the pronunciation as closely as possible, per the instructions? Most Pimsleur finishers develop a good accent.

You probably already know how to pronounce all the individual sounds of the language, or phonemes, but if not, find a resource that teaches the alphabet, with audio, and make sure you master all of these before you do anything else. This step shouldn't take very long, especially since you said you can pronounce rr already.

In addition to that, I would recommend reading text that has audio, out loud. I gave you a link to 100 6-minute conversations with audio in your last thread. Those are Venezuelans, but their pronunciation is very standard Latin American Spanish. You can read a phrase out loud, play its audio, then repeat out loud if you feel your pronunciation was off in any way. Continue to the next phrase and so on until you are finished. Alternatively you could listen to a phrase, read it while pronouncing it, then go onto to the next phrase and repeat until you are finished - but this is less of a reading exercise than the first way.

You should also converse. A lot! Always self-monitor your pronunciation when you do this and make adjustments if necessary.

Do not model your pronunciation after songs. Singing is useful, don't get me wrong, but singers often use non-standard pronunciation, so you shouldn't necessarily go around talking like someone sings.

Finally, it is helpful to have native or advanced speakers of the language occasionally give you feedback, and let you know if there are any issues. Good luck!



Thanks for all this advice. Yes I think Pimsleur was good for my pronunciation and several of the tutors I have had on italki during last couple weeks have said so which gives me some confidence and energy to plow through Pimsleur 4 and 5!

I have been checking out the languagecrush website. Awesome resource! Thanks for the link. I listened to and read a couple of the conversations including one that mentioned the tv show El Chapo Ocho which is a striking show!


Olle Kjellin has a free technique that I believe has been discussed on this forum. He has a Facebook group called "Pronunciation Best Practices", if you click on the Files section of this Facebook page he has a description of the technique. This guy used his method:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lB9_3pe0DA


I looked up Olle Kjellin. Here is a link to his paper on aquisition which is thorough and interesting
http://olle-kjellin.com/SpeechDoctor/ProcLP98.html

I watched the youtube video also. I am going to try to find some time to learn my audio program better and make some files with spaces for repeats from various sources. Very excited for this process!! Thanks so much for sharing the information!
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Re: Spanish Accent

Postby rdearman » Mon Aug 08, 2022 9:29 am

Professor Kjellin outlines his method using Audacity (opensource sound editor) but I think it is a lot easier using a different piece of free software called WorkAudioBook. But the method still works regardless of the software.
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Re: Spanish Accent

Postby luke » Mon Aug 08, 2022 2:37 pm

I once had a Spanish class where the teacher, a native speaker, taught us the vowels, AEIOU. Then he said, "Okay, that's it. Now you know Spanish." His point was that the vowels are the important part of the language.

It makes some sense. Verbs and adjectives are often correct or not, based on the vowel.

What do Spanish speakers think? Is it harder to understand someone who mispronounces vowels, or someone who mispronounces consonants?
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Re: Spanish Accent

Postby Iversen » Mon Aug 08, 2022 4:05 pm

I have to disagree with that teacher (native as he may be - or maybe precisely because of that). The difference between b or v in Spanish and in most other languages is worth learning properly, and those learners who don't have the c - z from the European kind of Spanish in their own language should also take pains to learn pronounce that sound - or switch to Latinamerican Spanish. Maybe the Spaniards can understand speakers who don't use the correct sounds, but then it can only be because those learners always are wrong in exactly the same way.

As for professor Kjellin I remember having disccusions with him in HTLAL (maybe also here, I don't remember..). My main grievance with his method is that he advocated chorusing - and I hate choruses.

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Re: Spanish Accent

Postby luke » Mon Aug 08, 2022 4:27 pm

Iversen wrote:I have to disagree with that teacher (native as he may be - or maybe precisely because of that). The difference between b or v in Spanish and in most other languages is worth learning properly, and those learners who don't have the c - z from the European kind of Spanish in their own language should also take pains to learn pronounce that sound - or switch to Latinamerican Spanish.

He was from Columbia and I thought he was oversimplifying.

The b/v pronunciation is also interesting. I hear plenty of native Latin American speakers who pronounce them differently, even if they themselves might say they are the same sound. Even more entertaining is when they mix up the spelling. E.G., Buena Boluntad. I saw one yesterday where they had substituted Vs for Bs in what seemed to be a fairly common word.

Perhaps it happens in all languages. Just a simple, off the cuff example from English. The two B sounds in "Bob" do not seem to be the same to me. I think native speakers take the different sounds for granted but don't think of them as different sounds.

Then again, depending on the venue, we have all native speakers knowingly break some of the rules trying to be cool. u know what i mean?
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