English pronunciation activities for Spanish speakers

10 English Pronunciation Errors by Spanish SpeakersIf your mother tongue is Spanish, you may find certain sounds in English more difficult than others. Here we present to you the m

English pronunciation activities for Spanish speakers

10 English Pronunciation Errors by Spanish Speakers

If your mother tongue is Spanish, you may find certain sounds in English more difficult than others. Here we present to you the mostcommon errors made by Spanish-speaking students at Pronunciation Studio(audio is firstly in GB English then with a Spanish accent):

1. Vowel Sound Positions

Spanish uses 5 vowel sound positions in pronunciation, GB English uses12 vowel sound positions  so this is a key area for Spanish speakers to learn.The most important area is making the right shape with the mouth, rather than focussing on the length of the sound:


Spanish has just one high front vowel [i] and Spanish speakers often use this vowelfor both the /ɪ/ vowel in HIT and the /iː/ vowel in HEAT. One i in English is normally the lower /ɪ/ vowel:

hit / heat

Did this thing win?https://pronunciationstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/spanish-pronunciation-errors-1.mp3


Spanishspeakers oftenmake the vowels in HUT /hʌt/, HAT /hæt/ and HEART /hɑːt/ into the Spanish /a/  they should be made in different positions in English:

hut /hat /heart

I love Matts car.https://pronunciationstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/spanish-pronunciation-errors-2.mp3


Spanish/u/ is made with the tongue at the back of the mouth, English /uː/ in FOODis more central, and English /ʊ/ in GOODis more open and central (note also that the spelling < oo > can produce both sounds in English):

/uː/ food, soon, new
/ʊ/ good, cook, put

Ill cooksome good food soon.https://pronunciationstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/spanish-pronunciation-errors-3.mp3


The central, neutral vowel /ɜː/ in HURT, EARLY, BIRD, WORSE, PREFER is often mispronounced by Spanish speakers because there is no similar vowel sound in the Spanish, and the spellings are confusing:

ir bird, shirt, sir
or worse, worth, world
ur hurt, turn, burn
er/ear prefer, heard, early

2.Weak Vowel: schwa /ə/

The most common sound inEnglish isthe weak vowel, schwa /ə/. The problem is that this sound can be spelt with any vowel  A, E, I, O, Uand it should never be stressed, which is difficult for Spanish speakers who normally stress every syllable:

about tighten lentil today column

3. /r/, silent < r >

Spanish /r/ involves tapping or trilling the tongue on the gum, English /r/ does not, its a smooth approximant:

rock red arrow tryhttps://pronunciationstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/spanish-pronunciation-errors-6.mp3

British English r is silent at the end of a syllable (non-rhotic), Spanish speakers pronounce these rs because Spanish is rhotic:

work court her pourfatherhttps://pronunciationstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/spanish-pronunciation-errors-7.mp3

4. /v/ vs. /b/

In English /v/ is a voiced fricative using teeth and lip, Spanish speakers tend to replaceitwith a plosive /b/ or an approximant sound using both lips:

Next vacation Id love to visit the river.https://pronunciationstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/spanish-pronunciation-errors-8.mp3

5./ʃ/ vs /s/

Spanish speakers dont tend to pull the tongue back when making the /ʃ/ sound, so it sounds more like /s/:

/ʃ/ pushsharp fashionhttps://pronunciationstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/spanish-pronunciation-errors-9.mp3

6. /h/ & silent < h >

English /h/ is a glottal fricative  its the sound you make when steaming up a mirror. Spanish speakers may replace this with a velar fricative:

/h/ horse heavy ahead

The h in little function words like HAVE, HE, HIS, HER, HIM is often silent in connected speech, but Spanish speakers may put it in:

I must have forgotten it.
Whats her name?

7.Aspiration: /p,t,k/

In English, the plosive sounds /p,t,k/ are normally aspirated (a big explosion of air), but they never are in Spanish:

Park the car in town.https://pronunciationstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/spanish-pronunciation-errors-12.mp3


Spanish speakers often de-voice (/d/=/t/, /b/=/p/, /v/=/f/) at the end of syllables, as the distinction is not made in Spanish:

bad cod job love

The spelling s is often pronounced as voiced /z/ at the end of syllables in English, Spanish speakers tend to always pronounce it as voiceless /s/:

cheese was news lose

9. Sentence Stress

Spanish is a syllable-timed language so you stress every syllable, whereas English stress-time involves choosing (normally only one or two) certain syllables to stress, with everything else becoming weak and/or shorter:

Id like to have a look at the report.
What do you think about the weather?

10. Falling Intonation

GB English uses a wide pitch range and high falling tones are very common, whereas Spanish uses more rising tones:

Its very good.
Do you fancygoing for a drinktonight?

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