I know Spanish but nobody understands me... What can I do?
SPANISH SOUNDS VERSUS LETTERS
The Spanish and English alphabet are almost identical but many of the common letters in both languages are pronounced differently. To hear the difference we need to discover the Spanish alphabet and the sounds represented by each of the letters in order to pronounce Spanish properly.
So there is not a big secret. To pronounce Spanish to be understood we need to come back to the basics and to learn how to pronounce each of the letters that we have in the alphabet. It is a good idea to practice how to say each letter in order to be able to spell anything in Spanish but also to pronounce each sound in a real word in order to practice real Spanish speaking.
You will see that almost all Spanish sounds also exist in English, the difference lies in the fact that English often uses a very different orthographic representation. For instance, the "th" sound in the word "think" in Spanish is usually represented with a "z" or a "c" so when you find a Spanish word with these letters you would often need to pronounce the "z" like the "th" in "think" rather than like the "z" in English, however, some letters have more than one sound so the pronunciation is different depending on the vowel next to them, for instance with the letter "c".
Nevertheless, there are no many pronunciation rules in Spanish and once you know them you will be able to pronounce any word. For example, the Spanish "C" and "G" have two sounds whereas the Spanish "H" doesn't have any sound at all.
Are you ready to listen the alphabet? Click on the audio button below to listen to the alphabet.
In my next post I'll talk more about all of this but in particular about Spanish vowels versus English vowels as there is a major difference among vocalic sounds in both languages.
¡Hasta la vista!
I'm a Spanish and English philologist specialised in Spanish linguistics and in teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language (ELE) as I love sharing my language, my culture and a particular vision of the world with people from around the globe, getting to know more about the world itself through them and languages.