OsSpanish Sucks

First things first/Primero lo primero, First part/Primera parte

By Os

Just for this month I am gonna show you something sweet about Spanish:  The pronunciation of the stuff.

¿How on Earth: ¿won and one?, ¿bear and bare?, ¿weight and wait?, have the same pronunciation???

In Spanish, when you see a letter such as “A”, it sounds like /ah/ in Anita, /ah/ in padre and /ah/ in any single word that has an “A” in it.  Period.-Punto.

In English, when you see a letter such as “A”, it sounds like /ey/ in Amy, /ah/ in father and who knows what else in another word that has “A” in it.

En español the letter you see and the sound that is gonna come out of your mouth when you see that letter is always the same.  En inglés the letter you see and the sound that is gonna come out of your mouth can be different.  Sorry about this but it super sucks.

Os - Lost in Translation

I have a friend in Europa who calls himself John Schmidt; I have a neighbor in Portalón who calls herself Anita Espinoza.

My amigo has 2 vowels vs. 9 consonants in his nombre; my vecina has 7 vowels vs. 6 consonants in hers.  ¿You get the point?  In español the vowels (las vocales) are more important than the consonants (las consonantes).  If you have trouble with these little guys: A-a, E-e, I-i, O-o, U-u; you will have serious trouble whenever you want to pronounce words in español.  So let’s take them seriously NOW, not mañana like we ticos always do.

When speaking español, if you make the following sounds every time the corresponding letter appears you’ll sound just like a native speaker.  ¿Cuándo?  ¡Every time the letter appears!

a  /ah/ like father

e  /eh/ like met

i  /ee/ like keep

o  /oh/ like open

u  /oo/ like boo

Trust me!!! Know these 5 vocales and you will be on your way.  Be careful with the “e”, the “i” and the “a”.

¡Let’s practice – Practiquemos!

Elena, Eduardo, España, elefante, espada.

Ingrid, Ignacio, Inglaterra, iguana, iglesia.

Ana, Andrés, Alemania, ardilla, árbol.

Olga, Orlando, Oslo, oso, ojo.

Úrsula, Ulises, Uruguay, unicornio, uva. 

Besides las vocales, there are 5 other letters –letras that can be a little “tough”:

C-c has two sounds:

c’ like cat (when followed by a, o, u)

                casa – comida – culebra

c’’ like celery (when followed by e, i)

                celeste – cielo 

G-g has two sounds:

                g’ like go (when followed by a, o, u)

                gato – gorila – gusano

                g’’ like hello (when followed by e, i)

                general – girasol 

H-h has zero sound:  like k in knife

                hola  /oh´-lah/ 

J-j has one sound:  like h in hot

                jalapeño  /ha-lah-peh´-nyo/ 

Ll-ll has one sound:  like y in yes

                llama  /yah´-mah/ 

¡Let’s practice – Practiquemos!

c’   coco, carro, Colorado, capitán.

c’’  Cecilia, cigarro, centro, cilantro.

g’   goma, garaje, guacamole, Paraguay.

g’’  general, Gerardo, gimnasio, rígido.

h    huevo, hombre, helicóptero, ahora.

j     Juan, trabajo, frijoles, Julio.

ll    llanta, millón, tortillas, amarillo. 

¿Did you know that Español is the only language that has the letter “Ñ-ñ” (la letra eñe)?

Just pronounce it like ny in canyon: 

Español, señora, señor, señorita, señorito, mañana, Muñoz, and…

…Piña colada.   ¡Cheers-salud!