Verbal Cues and Hiccups in English that seem Unique to Spanish Speakers


Publicado por Brian

As an English teacher of many years, it becomes evident how certain nationalities, with their own vocal habits and ways of framing the sounds that come out of their mouths, seem to have difficulty in jettisoning some key sounds in favour of the new tongue.


With Spanish-speakers, a number of things come to mind.  The first is what I call the ‘nation syndrome’ (patent pending).  When you ask, in English, where a Spanish person comes from, the answer will be along the lines of ‘I am from Spain.’  However, in castellano, this will read ‘Soy de Espanya.’  Where is the issue?  More often than not, the ‘s’ letter in any Spanish word is preceded by ‘e’ (Examples: Espanya, estar, estancia,) and so the tendency is to read words in English, beginning with ‘s’, in an ‘e-S’ fashion.  It’s not a hugely embarrassing or ‘punishable in exam’ error, but one could consider the next time whether in fact ‘I am from e-Spain’ or ‘I am from Spain.’  And, if discussing movies, whether one really does like the ‘films of Kevin e-Spacey’ or the ‘films of Kevin Spacey.’

Then, of course, there is the issue of HOMONYMS (that is, those words that appear and sound similar, but actually mean entirely different things).  Not all, but a few of these can pose real problems for the Spanish speaker, such as:



The latter is a water-bound vessel that can be seen on a clear day, the former is an animal, not unlike a goat, that makes a funny sound.

TIP: When saying SHEEP, make sure to ELONGATE the ‘ee’ sound, to differentiate it from ‘SHIP’ which has a clipped and shorter ‘i’ sound.   

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