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.



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Learn Spanish from Popular Media (movies, TV shows, music videos, books, even comics!) Using Mostly FREE Online Resources - Here's How...

I tried to learn French with self-study books and then classes (4 years!) in high school and failed...I tried Spanish and Russian while in university and failed (and got kicked out of a French class but that's another story)...then, 10 years ago, I took another shot at Spanish using a simple method I picked up from a friend: studying (not just watching) Spanish-language TV shows: I was conversationally fluent in six months.

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