pronounce anythingThis is a simple technique I developed on my own as part of the Telenovela Method years ago and I’ve just never gotten around to writing about it because it never occurred to me how much trouble most people have learning to pronounce certain parts of foreign languages.  This is a simple, obvious (once you understand it) technique that’s very easy to learn and, in my experience, will let you pronounce anything (I’ve used it successfully with Spanish, German, and Russian so far).  I did a quick video demo for you that I’ve included at the bottom.

What to Do

In summary: Break the word or phrase down into the smallest possible pieces, master each one individually, then slowly start connecting them into progressively larger chunks, finally speeding everything up.

In detail:

  1. Start at the beginning of the word and master just the first syllable.  Let’s use the word “aeropuerto” as an example.  Click the link to hear native speakers pronounce it on Forvo.  This is a word I had trouble with years ago when I was first learning Spanish and it was actually several months before I could pronounce it properly.  First, just learn to say the initial “ae” sound correctly, it just sounds like the English word “eye”.
  2. Next: “ro”.  Don’t stick the two together yet, go slow…piece by piece.  “Ro, ro, ro…ae, ae, ae…ro, ro, ro…ae…ro…ae…ro, ae-ro, ae-ro, aero, aero, aero”.
  3. Now let’s do “pue”, it’s like “p-weh”.  Just say “Pue” several times until you’re pronouncing that one particular syllable just like the native speaker.
  4. Let’s go back and review.  Say “ae-ro” again a few times, slowly speeding up to “aero” until you’re saying it just like the native speaker and just as quickly.
  5. Let’s do “erto” now.  It’s just “air-tow” with a rolled “r”.  Say: “er, er, er, er-to, er-to, erto, erto, erto”.
  6. Let’s make bigger chunks by putting them together.  How about “puerto”?  Say: “Pue…pue…pue…erto…erto…erto…pue-rto…pue-erto…puerto…puerto…puerto”, starting slowly and then speeding up.
  7. Let’s slowly put them all together to form the whole word we want to say: “Ae…ro…ae…ro…ae-ro…ae-ro…aero…aero…pue…erto…pue…erto…pue-erto…puerto…puerto…aero…puerto…aero…puerto…aero-puerto…aero-puerto…aero-puerto…aeropuerto…aeropuerto…aeropuerto…aeropuerto…aeropuerto, aeropuerto, aeropuerto, aeropuerto, aeropuerto”.

That’s how you do it.  The above looks tedious and it probably took you several minutes to go through all of that, doing it yourself, but that’s because you were learning how to do it and simultaneously trying to do my example of it at the same time.  When you’re doing this yourself it’ll usually take something more like 15-30 seconds for a word and a couple of minutes for a whole phrase or short sentence.  Here’s a video demonstration of me doing it (takes about 4 minutes but keep in mind I’m going very slowly and explaining what I’m doing along the way):

It’s really very simple: just break it down into the smallest possible pieces, master each one individually, then slowly start putting them together and speeding up.  That’s it.

Hope that helps you all, let me know what you think in the comments.

Cheers,

Andrew

I see you've been here a while (3 minutes, 30 seconds, to be precise)!

That must mean you like what you're reading!  You're finding it interesting, useful, helpful!  Oh that's wonderful, there's nothing more rewarding for a writer than knowing their material accomplished its goal of helping someone, of telling them something they didn't know before, of providing them with useful information!

Would you like more of the same? I can help you, Spanish students and teachers!

I have whole series of emails (many series!), lists of the most useful free online resources, and more to help beginning/intermediate Spanish students as well as Spanish teachers (a lot of that information is useful to both for different reasons).  If you'll subscribe to my email list right now I'll immediately send you my list of the Top 10 Free Online Spanish-Learning Resources as well as the first in my "Getting Started Learning Spanish" series, with much more to follow (e.g. my "Learn Spanish for Real" series where I teach idioms and slang from real-life contexts, "Learn Spanish from the News", "Learn Spanish on YouTube", and more!).

Thank you so much for giving me a chance and subscribing to my questionable writings, you'll receive your first two in the next few minutes - Andrew